An police officer in El Paso, Texas was cleared of any wrongdoing by a civilian review board. In April, Officer Raul Ramirez arrested two KVIA-TV newsmen for “interfering with public duties.”
The review board met on September 24th and made its recommendations after interviewing Ramirez and reviewing documents. The board’s report found that calling Ramirez’s conduct “unlawful” was inaccurate, and instead ruled that his actions were “unprofessional.”
The board considered this probable cause, given reports that the two reporters had been asked to move multiple times because their truck and equipment were interfering with rescue operations. Ultimately, the board found that Ramirez, “upset over the situation,” acted unprofessionally after taking Hunt into custody.
Officer Ramirez, who was demoted from sergeant to officer and suspended in May for slapping a student in the process of arresting him during a fight near a school last November, will be suspended for 11 days as a result of the board’s findings.
I responded to the case previously. Read my blog!
Analysis – The officer in question will probably be back on the streets after his suspension. If I were a reporter or photog in the El Paso area, I would be very concerned about doing my job, which was granted by the Constitution of the United States. The despite the board’s findings, the police was granted a “free pass”. It’s not if it happens again, it’s when. And when it does happens, next time it might be cleaning up a fatality involving a member of the media.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!