Monday, May 21, 2007

Videotape the Key in Deputy's Trial

Photos from
The grainy videotape shows a disturbing scene: A sheriff's deputy shoots an Iraq war veteran who appears to be obeying an order to get up off the ground. A judge overseeing the trial of the deputy got a hint of how powerful the footage is when he asked prospective jurors if anyone had seen it and nearly 400 raised their hands.
Opening statements are scheduled for Monday. The video was taken by a bystander and aired repeatedly on national TV after the Jan. 29, 2006, shooting in Chino, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Former San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Ivory Webb Jr., 46, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm. If convicted, he could face more than 18 years in prison.
A jury of eight men and four women was sworn in May 16 after undergoing two rounds of questioning and filling out a detailed, 26-page questionnaire that asked about their exposure to the tape, views on law enforcement and whether they owned guns.
The man who was shot, Air Force Senior Airman Elio Carrion, now 23, was a passenger in a car that crashed while being chased by Webb. Carrion testified at a preliminary hearing that he had been drinking at a barbecue to celebrate his recent return from Iraq. On the 40-second video clip, he can be heard swearing at Webb before the deputy tells him to "get up! get up!" [Webb is also heard swearing at Carrion.] Carrion was then shot three times in the chest, left leg and left shoulder. Webb's lawyer, Michael Schwartz, has previously suggested that his client might actually have shouted "don't get up!" [Which is a LIE!] He has also argued that Webb may have believed Carrion was reaching for a weapon in his jacket pocket as he stood up. [Which is another LIE!] Carrion was found to be unarmed.
During a preliminary hearing, Schwartz played an FBI-enhanced copy of the videotape frame by frame to show Carrion's hand going toward his jacket, a movement that is almost imperceptible when the footage is seen at real speed. Carrion is expected to testify at the trial. He has recovered and is working light duty at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La. He has also filed a civil claim against San Bernardino County.

EDITORIAL: I personally hope that Ivory Webb, Jr. spends EVERY DAY of the possible 18+ years in prison. He was out of control -- and he attempted to murder Elio Carrion in cold blood. That is 100% evident in the video -- and there's little rational room for dispute of what is seen and heard on that tape. Webb lost his temper due to the car chase and then took it out on the passenger in the car -- Elio Carrion. Ivory Webb should be charged with attempted murder, not attempted manslaughter, dereliction of duty, assault with a firearm, and wreckless endangerment (to bystanders).