On a February night in 2011, an off-duty Houston police officer was seen coming out of a bar at closing time after drinking heavily. Jose Coronado Jr., had just taken a triple shot of Jameson and a beer on top of several drinks earlier that night. Coronado must have been heavily intoxicated. When he arrived in the parking lot he witnessed a fight. Coronado took out his gun and shot two of the fighters, killing one and severely wounding the other. Omar Ventura was deceased, his brother Ronaldo writhing in pain on the ground next to him. Coronado claimed Omar reached for his waistband, obviously implying fear that he had a gun. For what can be seen as a cold-blooded murder, Coronado was suspended 30 days for “acting in official capacity while drinking…” This was murder. Coronado was not in uniform and was severely intoxicated. He shot and killed a man. What gives an off-duty officer the right to kill a man without being punished? More importantly, how many times has an officer acted similarly without any repercussion? It is incidences like these that drive a wedge between the public, and the police hired to serve them. If there had been video evidence Coronado would have been either exonerated or proven guilty. Instead, the Ventura family will live without justice, and without they beloved brother Omar. The family has filed a lawsuit against the police department. This incident is one of many in the Houston police department. Mandatory body cameras will be a strong step forward for holding police accountable and repairing the bonds of trust between police and the community. Most officers are upstanding well intentioned individuals serving the public good. But not all cops are honest, upstanding individuals, and an officer good or bad wields enormous power. If you have been charged with a crime, stand up for your rights. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the area of Criminal Defense. Call our Denver office today for a Free Consultation.
Cite: Timothy Williams, The New York Times, February 23, 2016