(en) Deputy guilty of firing at taggers gets suspended sentence

Greg Jackson (bd982@scn.org)
Wed, 6 Aug 1997 09:13:59 -0700 (PDT)

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From: mnovick@laedu.lalc.k12.ca.us (Michael Novick) To: bwitanek@igc.org Subject: Deputy guilty of firing at taggers gets suspended sentence! Date: Tue, 05 Aug

Tuesday, August 5, 1997 Deputy Sentenced for Firing at Taggers, Lying on Report By GREG SANDOVAL, Times Staff Writer Much to prosecutors' dismay, a 34-year-old sheriff's deputy convicted last month of shooting at graffiti vandals while off duty in the Antelope Valley received a suspended sentence and probation Monday and will serve no prison time. Bobby Rodriguez, a nine-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, was sentenced to five years of probation, fined $1,000 and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. On July 9, a jury found Rodriguez guilty of assault with a firearm, gross negligent discharge of a firearm, shooting from a vehicle and filing a false report. Antelope Superior Court Judge Chesley N. McKay Jr. said before sentencing that sending Rodriguez to jail would not serve the public interest. He cited Rodriguez's good record with the Sheriff's Department and the fact that he had no criminal record as the reasons for his decision. But Deputy Dist. Atty. Bill Seki said he was disappointed with McKay's decision and said it sends a "bad message to the public." Seki had sought a three-year prison term for Rodriguez, far less than the 14-year maximum, Seki said. "If anyone else was accused of the same crimes, I don't think there is any question that that person would be going to jail," Seki said. "Here is a guy who has sworn to uphold the law. He uses a firearm in committing a crime and he's able to walk away without ever spending a day in jail. Is that just?" Rodriguez's attorney, Vicki Podberesky, praised the judge for making a "courageous decision." She disagreed that the sentence was unfairly lenient. Because Rodriguez will probably be fired, the loss of his career is more punishment than most people would have to endure, she said. Through his attorney, Rodriguez refused to comment on the case. Rodriguez has been suspended without pay during the trial, according to a department spokeswoman. A departmental investigation is expected, followed by an administrative hearing, after which it is expected that Rodriguez will be fired. Rodriguez is accused of chasing the group of taggers in his pickup truck last Aug. 31 and firing his service revolver at them several times during the high-speed chase. Afterward, he called 911 and claimed that the taggers had tried to carjack and assault him. One of the people that Rodriguez claimed assaulted him spent four days in jail until sheriff's investigators turned up two independent witnesses who testified that they saw Rodriguez chasing the taggers and heard multiple gunshots, Seki said. "It's this kind of vigilantism that we're trying to prevent," Seki said. "He deserved some custody time." In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. Be PART of the solution -- People Against Racist Terror/ PO Box 1055/Culver City CA 90232-1055/310-288-5003/ Order our journal "Turning the Tide." mnovickttt@igc.org Free Mumia Abu Jamal! Free All POW's and Political Prisoners! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!

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