Mother of girl shot by Denver police seeks separate autopsy - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Mother of girl shot by Denver police seeks separate autopsy

Posted:

DENVER (AP) - The mother of a 17-year-old girl who was shot and killed by Denver police said that she wants a second, independent autopsy because she doesn't trust the official investigation into the death of her daughter.

The demand by Laura Sonya Rosales Hernandez came as the Denver Police Department and an independent city official who monitors the agency disclosed that separate investigations were underway into policies regarding officers shooting at moving vehicles.

The Monday shooting of Jessica Hernandez was the fourth time in seven months that a Denver officer fired at a vehicle after perceiving it as a threat.

Police have said two officers fired after Hernandez drove a stolen car into one of them. A passenger in the car disputed that account, saying police opened fire before the vehicle struck the officer. Police said none of the five people in the car was armed.

"I want another autopsy on my daughter so we can know how much damage they did," Hernandez said, speaking Wednesday in Spanish inside the trailer home where her daughter lived with five siblings. "I want to know, how did this happen? I want to know everything."

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that officers may not use deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect unless the person is believed to pose significant physical harm. Still, policies vary among agencies, and some departments have banned or discouraged the practice.

The Albuquerque Police Department, for example, ordered officers in June to stop shooting at moving vehicles after a Justice Department report found a pattern of excessive force.

The Cleveland Police Department changed its policy before federal investigators concluded its officers too often used unnecessary force.

In Denver, the Police Department and Independent Monitor Nicholas Mitchell are both looking at how national standards compare to Denver's policy, which allows officers to fire at moving cars if they have no other reasonable way to prevent death or serious injury.

Denver's policy urges officers to try to move out of the way rather than fire. "An officer threatened by an oncoming vehicle shall, if feasible, move out of the way rather than discharging a firearm," it says.

The reviews will look at several cases in which Denver officers fired at cars they considered to be deadly weapons. Those cases include the fatal shooting of Ryan Ronquillo, 21, who officers said tried to hit them with his car outside a funeral home in July.

Prosecutors have declined to file charges in that case.

Experts say shooting and disabling a driver can send a car out of control.

"If you were to shoot at the driver you would have an unguided missile, basically," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which suggests departments forbid officers from shooting at moving vehicles unless there's another deadly threat involved, such as a weapon.

Police officials identified the officers in the shooting of Hernandez as Daniel Greene, a 16-year-veteran, and Gabriel Jordan, a 9-year-veteran.

Jordan suffered a fractured leg, department spokesman Sonny Jackson said, declining to comment further about details of the case.

Hernandez's mother said her daughter made a mistake by "grabbing" a car that did not belong to her but didn't deserve to pay with her life.

"How much do they need to investigate?" she asked. "It's all done. They did it. They killed her. All I want is justice."

A passenger in the car, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of safety concerns, said Hernandez lost control of the vehicle because she was unconscious after being shot.

Prosecutors promised a thorough probe of the shooting as a small group of angry protesters demanded swift answers and called for a special prosecutor to investigate the death.

The shooting occurred amid a national debate about police use of force fueled by racially charged episodes in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

Investigators in the Denver case will be relying on witnesses and police accounts because the department has only just started to buy body cameras for its officers, and those involved were not yet outfitted. Denver doesn't use in-car dashboard cameras, either, which experts consider a best practice for accountability but can be costly for larger departments.

The shooting happened after police determined a suspicious vehicle in an alley had been stolen, Chief Robert White said. The two officers opened fire after Hernandez drove into one of them as they approached the car on foot, police said.

The passenger said officers came up to the car from behind and fired four times into the driver's side window as they stood on the side of the car, narrowly missing others inside.

Witnesses said officers with their guns drawn then pulled people out of the car, including Hernandez, who they handcuffed and searched. Her mother criticized the way police handled her after she was shot.

"They dragged her on the floor and threw her down like a piece of garbage," she said.

Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on routine administrative leave pending the investigation.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Two Arrested for Heroin Possession During Traffic Stop

    Two Arrested for Heroin Possession During Traffic Stop

    Monday, June 26 2017 4:59 PM EDT2017-06-26 20:59:56 GMT
    Monday, June 26 2017 5:07 PM EDT2017-06-26 21:07:55 GMT
    Two people were arrested after deputies found heroin during a traffic stop.Two people were arrested after deputies found heroin during a traffic stop.

    Two people were arrested after a traffic stop lead to a heroin bust, according to the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office. 

    More

    Two people were arrested after a traffic stop lead to a heroin bust, according to the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office. 

    More
  • Two Inmates Treated for Suspected Overdoses at Vaughn Prison Near Smyrna

    Two Inmates Treated for Suspected Overdoses at Vaughn Prison Near Smyrna

    Monday, June 26 2017 8:41 PM EDT2017-06-27 00:41:25 GMT
    Monday, June 26 2017 8:41 PM EDT2017-06-27 00:41:25 GMT
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC)
    DOVER, Del. -- Two inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna were treated for suspected overdoses last week, correctional officials said. Jayme Gravell, a spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Correction, said two inmates were treated with Narcan and became responsive following medical treatment during separate incidents on Wednesday and Thursday. However, Gravell declined to give more details about the nature of the suspected overdoses, including the ...More
    DOVER, Del. -- Two inmates at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna were treated for suspected overdoses last week, correctional officials said. Jayme Gravell, a spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Correction, said two inmates were treated with Narcan and became responsive following medical treatment during separate incidents on Wednesday and Thursday. However, Gravell declined to give more details about the nature of the suspected overdoses, including the ...More
  • Police: Counterfeit Money Used Over the Weekend in Rehoboth Beach

    Police: Counterfeit Money Used Over the Weekend in Rehoboth Beach

    Tuesday, June 27 2017 8:06 AM EDT2017-06-27 12:06:22 GMT
    Tuesday, June 27 2017 8:43 AM EDT2017-06-27 12:43:06 GMT

    Counterfeit money used at establishments along the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk has led police to investigate.

    More

    Counterfeit money used at establishments along the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk has led police to investigate.

    More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Law Enforcement Warns Against the Use of Dirt Bike's on Salisbury's Streets

    Law Enforcement Warns Against the Use of Dirt Bike's on Salisbury's Streets

    Law enforcement warns against the dangers of dirt biking on public streets.

    With the warmer weather, police said they have seen an uptick in dirt biking throughout Salisbury.

    Lieutenant Jason King from the Salisbury Police Department said, "A lot of times they aren't paying attention to traffic on the roadway and people who may be walking in neighborhoods and its just not safe to do those kind of things."

    More

    Law enforcement warns against the dangers of dirt biking on public streets.

    With the warmer weather, police said they have seen an uptick in dirt biking throughout Salisbury.

    Lieutenant Jason King from the Salisbury Police Department said, "A lot of times they aren't paying attention to traffic on the roadway and people who may be walking in neighborhoods and its just not safe to do those kind of things."

    More
  • Delaware Girl Falls From Six Flags Ride

    Delaware Girl Falls From Six Flags Ride

    A teenager fell about 25 feet from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, falling into a crowd of park guests and employees who had gathered to catch her.

    The 14-year-old girl was from Greenwood, Delaware, and was taken to Albany Medical Center in stable condition and with no serious injuries, according to the Warren County Sheriff's Office. Her identity has not been released.

    More

    A teenager fell about 25 feet from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, falling into a crowd of park guests and employees who had gathered to catch her.

    The 14-year-old girl was from Greenwood, Delaware, and was taken to Albany Medical Center in stable condition and with no serious injuries, according to the Warren County Sheriff's Office. Her identity has not been released.

    More
  • Pony Swim Organizers Looking for Help

    Pony Swim Organizers Looking for Help

    Organizers of the 92nd annual Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman's Annual Pony Swim are seeking volunteers to help with the event on Wednesday, July 26th. Tens of thousands of visitors will gather on Chincoteague Island to watch the swim, and the large influx of cars on the island is expected to create traffic and parking issues. Volunteers are needed to drive shuttle buses, give directions, and help keep heavy traffic under control.

    More

    Organizers of the 92nd annual Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman's Annual Pony Swim are seeking volunteers to help with the event on Wednesday, July 26th. Tens of thousands of visitors will gather on Chincoteague Island to watch the swim, and the large influx of cars on the island is expected to create traffic and parking issues. Volunteers are needed to drive shuttle buses, give directions, and help keep heavy traffic under control.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices