Oklahoma law enforcement officers beat a man to death before confiscating his wife’s cell phone after she video recorded the incident, leaving the key piece of evidence in the hands of the killers.
Police said they needed the phone as “evidence” but the United States Department of Justice has made it very clear that police can only seize a camera without a warrant if they believe the camera contains evidence of a crime and if they believe this evidence would be destroyed if they don’t act fast to obtain it.
In this case, the phone likely contains evidence of a crime committed by police which would increase the chances of it getting destroyed now that it is in their hands.
The incident took place Saturday night outside a movie theater in Moore when a woman got into an argument with her daughter and slapped her before storming off.
The woman’s husband and father of the girl, Luis Rodriguez, ran after his wife in an attempt to restore harmony to the family, but a group of cops intervened and demanded his identification.
Police, of course, claim he started fighting with them, which is why they had to kill him.
But family members say he was only trying to sidestep them to prevent his wife from driving off.
According to News9:
Lunahi Rodriguez said that five officers beat her father to death right in front of her, in the parking lot of the movie theater.
“When they flipped him over you could see all the blood on his face, it was, he was disfigured, you couldn’t recognize him.”
By the time it was all over, Nair Rodriguez said that she knew her husband was dead.
“I saw him. His [motionless] body when people carry it to the stretcher,” she explained. “I knew that he was dead.”
Nair says her husband was only trying to defuse the fight she was having with her daughter. She said when police asked her about it she told them what happened.
“I told them I hit her and he was just trying to reach me. Why didn’t they arrest me?”
Lunahi added, “My mom was taking a video and asking, ‘What are they doing this for? Why?’ And they didn’t give really an explanation.”
News9 said that another family member provided them with an audio clip of the incident but it doesn’t appear that they have posted it.
The incident involved three Moore police officers, including one who was off-duty, as well as two off-duty game wardens.
Last year, Kern County sheriff’s deputies confiscated phones after killing a man as well, which led to an FBI investigation.
In 2012, Miami-Dade cops entered a home without a warrant and confiscated a phone from a girl after killing her father in the driveway.
1n 2011, Miami Beach police began confiscating phones after killing an unarmed man inside a car, shooting hundreds of bullets and striking four innocent bystanders, which lead to a policy change regarding the right for citizens to record (which they seem to be respecting for the most part).
The Free Thought Project has provided a list of apps that allow you to live stream video, ensuring your video survives even if they do confiscate your phone.
Call Moore Police Chief Jerry Stillings at (405) 793-5138.
Send stories, tips and videos to Carlos Miller.