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.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Wicomico County's Magi Choral Festival Comes to an End

    Wicomico County's Magi Choral Festival Comes to an End

    Sunday, November 18 2018 9:52 PM EST2018-11-19 02:52:23 GMT
    Sunday, November 18 2018 9:52 PM EST2018-11-19 02:52:23 GMT
    Magi Choral Festival (Photo WBOC)Magi Choral Festival (Photo WBOC)
    Magi Choral Festival (Photo WBOC)Magi Choral Festival (Photo WBOC)
    After 25 years of entertaining the Salisbury community, the Magi Choral Festival has come to an end.More
    After 25 years of entertaining the Salisbury community, the Magi Choral Festival has come to an end. More
  • Dover Man Arrested for Attempting to Steal Tip Jar

    Dover Man Arrested for Attempting to Steal Tip Jar

    Sunday, November 18 2018 9:24 PM EST2018-11-19 02:24:25 GMT
    Sunday, November 18 2018 9:24 PM EST2018-11-19 02:24:25 GMT
    DOVER, Del.- Delaware State Police have charged a Dover man for attempting to rob a local restaurant of its tip jar. According to state police, around 8:45 p.m., 36-year-old Titus Rodriguez entered the Pizzeria and Taqueria Porta Bella restaurant in the RMore
    DOVER, Del.- Delaware State Police have charged a Dover man for attempting to rob a local restaurant of its tip jar. According to state police, around 8:45 p.m., 36-year-old Titus Rodriguez entered the Pizzeria and Taqueria Porta Bella restaurant in the RMore
  • Multiple Fires in Maryland, Including Suspected Arson

    Multiple Fires in Maryland, Including Suspected Arson

    Sunday, November 18 2018 9:10 PM EST2018-11-19 02:10:23 GMT
    Sunday, November 18 2018 9:10 PM EST2018-11-19 02:10:23 GMT
    CAROLINE COUNTY, Md.- The Maryland State Fire Marshal is investigating three incidents from the weekend, including a suspected arson. On Friday around 10 p.m., firefighters responded to a shed fire on Lincoln Street in Ridgely. The fire marshal reports thMore
    CAROLINE COUNTY, Md.- The Maryland State Fire Marshal is investigating three incidents from the weekend, including a suspected arson. On Friday around 10 p.m., firefighters responded to a shed fire on Lincoln Street in Ridgely. The fire marshal reports thMore
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • New Toll Road to Open on U.S. Route 301 at Delaware State Line

    New Toll Road to Open on U.S. Route 301 at Delaware State Line

    Friday, November 16 2018 6:19 PM EST2018-11-16 23:19:54 GMT
    Friday, November 16 2018 6:19 PM EST2018-11-16 23:19:54 GMT
    MIDDLETOWN, Del. --- The U.S. Route 301 Mainline Project is beginning to wrap up work and lead to the state's first cashless toll road opening in December. The new U.S. Route 301 bypass will take drivers around Middletown and connect them directly to DelaMore
    MIDDLETOWN, Del. --- The U.S. Route 301 Mainline Project is beginning to wrap up work and lead to the state's first cashless toll road opening in December. The new U.S. Route 301 bypass will take drivers around Middletown and connect them directly to DelaMore
  • Man Arrested for DUI After Three Car Crash in Centreville

    Man Arrested for DUI After Three Car Crash in Centreville

    Saturday, November 17 2018 5:37 PM EST2018-11-17 22:37:46 GMT
    Saturday, November 17 2018 5:39 PM EST2018-11-17 22:39:58 GMT
    CENTREVILLE, Md.- Maryland State Police say a 28-year-old Centerville man is facing charges after allegedly driving under the influence and causing a car accident late Friday night. Police say around 11:48 p.m. on Friday, troopers were dispatched to RouteMore
    CENTREVILLE, Md.- Maryland State Police say a 28-year-old Centerville man is facing charges after allegedly driving under the influence and causing a car accident late Friday night. Police say around 11:48 p.m. on Friday, troopers were dispatched to RouteMore
  • UPDATE: Millsboro Man Found Shot to Death

    UPDATE: Millsboro Man Found Shot to Death

    Thursday, November 17 2016 12:11 PM EST2016-11-17 17:11:44 GMT
    Thursday, November 17 2016 11:52 PM EST2016-11-18 04:52:10 GMT

    Police are conducting a death investigation in Millsboro after a man was found dead on a road.

    More

    Police are conducting a death investigation in Millsboro after a man was found dead on a road.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices