News emerging from Orlando may be some of the most tragic, saddest and ironic of the year. As police recently responded to a call outside a downtown bar, after a man wielding a gun was thrown out of the building for brandishing the weapon and general drunken belligerence, they ended up not only shooting the man they were there for, one of the bullets that was intended for the suspect ended up striking and killing a woman who was still inside the establishment.
Witnesses stated they watched the woman, Maria Godinez Castillo, 22, simply slump over after being hit in the chest with one of the stray bullets and was eventually taken to a hospital, where she died. The suspect, Kody Roach, 23, was also taken to a hospital with five gunshot wounds, but is ironically expected to survive.
Although we will probably never know if the officer was more prone to firing his weapon during the confrontation because the 911 caller misled police dispatch by saying the suspect had already fired his weapon multiple times, with what turned out to be an unloaded gun, police say the officer fired nine shots at the non-compliant suspect because he reached for his waist band, after multiple loud verbal commands were ignored. Yet that doesn’t bring an end to the irony of the tragedy.
As if it wasn’t already bad enough that an attractive and innocent young woman was violently struck down in the prime of her life for simply being at the wrong place, at the wrong time, while the individual her bullet was intended for gets to continue living, it seems as though all sense of sanity and the rule of law may have also taken an unnecessary dive in downtown Orlando, Florida at the same time. Not only is Roach being charged with carrying a concealed firearm, armed trespassing in an occupied structure and attempted armed burglary of an occupied structure, according to local reports, he is also being charged with the young woman’s murder.
Yes, you read that correctly, her murder. Even though someone else pulled the trigger and there is no way to prove Roach had any intention of causing bodily harm to anyone, he is now facing 1st degree murder charges, according to his arrest affidavit. Which in part reads, "As a result of Roach's criminal actions, Ofc. Sanguino had no choice but to use deadly force in stopping the threat posed to the public and fellow officers by Roach. As a result of Roach's actions, an individual was killed, therefore probable cause exists to further charge Roach with first degree felony murder.”
So, even though Roach is being charged for a crime he didn’t commit, in the wake of another recent police-related tragedy that caught national attention and multiple days of heavy protesting, after Officer Daren Wilson of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department gunned down an unarmed African-American man, Mike Brown, 18, in the middle of the street and in broad daylight, allegedly without first attempting to use non-lethal force, reports also state that police first tried to subdue Kody Roach, a Caucasian, with the use of a taser. Which seems to have failed to work only because of the baggy clothing Roach was said to be wearing.
In other words, even though it is likely the Orlando police that confronted Roach did so with the understanding that he was armed, likely intoxicated and, according to witnesses, had already shown a willingness to fire a gun he was said to be in possession of, unlike the obviously unarmed and allegedly retreating Mike Brown, Roach was given the luxury of the police first attempting to detain him with the use of non-lethal force. Any ideas on what may be behind these two vastly different policing decisions? mirror