It looks like Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez is turning into one of the most vile creatures known to our species: a cowardly panderer who goes back on his word.
It appears that Torrez is now having second and third, and who knows, maybe fifth and sixth thoughts about a process he rolled out a year ago to deal with the big backlog of police shooting cases his office inherited from Kari Brandenburg. And he's using the high-profile case of former APD cop Jeremy Dear to put his pathetic pandering on full display.
According to KOB-TV, Torrez is now exploring the possibility of asking for a second opinion in the case where Dear fatally shot 19-year-old Mary Hawkes in April of 2014. Last week, two special prosecutors hired by Torrez to go through the backlog of police shooting cases, Michael Cox and Jody Curran, cleared Dear in the case and said he was justified in fearing for his life and shooting Hawkes, a suspected car thief.
According to the process that Torrez announced last year, that should be the end of that case, but it isn't because Torrez can't keep his word and can't stand up to the “Cops are always wrong” crowd. Torrez is considering asking a panel of seven DA s across the state to review the case. He even asked the lawyers for the Hawkes family (who, by the way, got a $5 million settlement from the city in January) whether they wanted a second review.
But here's what Torrez told ABQreport columnist Dan Klein last March about his process to reduce the backlog of police shooting cases, and here's how Klein described it:
“Torrez has hired veteran criminal prosecutors, Michael Cox and Jody Curran, and given them the job of reviewing these old police shootings. Both Cox and Curran are esteemed lawyers with strong backgrounds in criminal law. Both have worked at the DA’s office and both have the knowledge to jump in with both feet and start working.
Outside review by other DAs
“Both for the backlog and new cases going forward, Torrez said the police shooting review will be a two-step process. Step one is for Cox and Curran to review a case and determine if the shootings followed state statute. If the answer is yes, Torrez’s office will announce that fact to the community and those cases will be done.
“If, on the other hand, Cox and Curran determine a police shooting was questionable, it will be referred the District Attorney Review Panel. Torrez used the panel – a group of DAs from around the state – to determine that the James Boyd case would not be retried. The panel will then take a second look at the case to make a final determination on whether charges should be brought.”
Well, Cox and Curran made it clear that they believed that Hawkes had a gun the day she was killed – a gun that she had stolen – and that Dear was justified in fearing for his life.
Here's what their report said about Hawkes:
And here's what Cox and Curran said about trying to prosecute Dear of a crime in the shooting:
Here's the sick thing about this case an the way our cowardly DA is handling it. Cox and Curran sent a letter to Police Chief Michael Geier on Feb. 20 saying they weren't going to prosecute Dear.
Members of the news media had to get the letter from lawyers for Dear because the DA's office hasn't released it and has yet to post it on its website.
Cox and Curran made it clear that there was no criminal case against Dear, and that cast some doubt on the decision by Mayor Tim Keller's office in January to settle a civil lawsuit with the family of Mary Hawkes for $5 million. Maybe Torrez is trying to give a fellow Democrat some cover.
I don't know why Torrez is starting to act like a chicken-shit, reneging coward, but he is starting to act like a chicken-shit, reneging coward.