Police Abuse

Family of Man Murdered by Colorado Cop Suing City For Hiring 'Second-Chance Cops'

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The family of Jack Jacquez, who was murdered by police officer James Ashby, has filed a lawsuit against Ashby, the police chief in Rocky Ford, and the city of Rocky Ford, accusing the city of hiring "second-chance cops," as the Pueblo Citizen reports.

Two years ago, Ashby entered Jacquez's home, shot him in the back in front of his mother, and then pepper sprayed him as he lay dying. He was charged with second degree murder and became the first police officer in Colorado convicted of on-duty murder. Ashby claimed he believed Jacquez was a burglary suspect but there was no reasons offered for him to believe so.

The district attorney on the case argued the conviction offered an example of why Rocky Ford ought to be proud of its police. "Make no mistake, this prosecution happens not in spite of law enforcement but because of law enforcement," James Bullock, the district attorney, said at the time.

Attorneys for Jacquez's family argue the case demonstrates poor hiring and training standards at Rocky ford. "This is a case about a police department that hires 'second-chance' cops without any vetting," the lawsuit contended. "It is about a police department that gave a badge to one such officer, yet failed to provide him with any training regarding excessive force, including deadly force. And it is a case about an officer who regularly resorted to excessive force but did not receive discipline for his actions."

According to the lawsuit, Ashby was previously employed as a police officer in Walsenberg, about an hour's drive from Rocky Ford, and was the subject of a number of civilian complaints, including over the use of excessive force. The Jacquez family's attorneys argue the city knew about his history and that he was ineligible to be rehired when they hired him anyway, arguing that "ignoring these obvious red flags, the RFPD hired officer Ashby without any meaningful investigation into his background."

They also allege in the lawsuit that Ashby had a pattern of using "overwhelming force against any civilians who dared challenge his authority" because he was "permitted to police by his own rules" instead of getting "any basic training."

Ashby himself has not yet been sentenced, and his attorneys have motioned to have the case thrown out or retried based on multiple complaints about juror misconduct (ranging from one allegedly having contact with the father of the victim during the proceedings to a hard-of-hearing juror sleeping and not using a listening device) and mistakes allegedly made by prosecution. He faces up to 48 years in prison if the conviction stands and he is sentenced.

Related: Why It's So Hard to Stop Bad Cops From Getting New Police Jobs and Time for a Police Offender Registry

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  1. “Murdered”? How can a policeman “murder” anyone? I suppose you think the president can break the law, too!

    1. Laws are broken to be made, silly you.

  2. So it’s second-degree murder this time?

    1. Need more detail, but shot in the back and peppersprayed while dying sure sounds like first degree murder to me. Either ‘aforethought” (why did he shoot him if he wasn’t really a suspect) or “depraved heart” (seriously – pepperspraying a guy while he’s dying in front of his mother?).

      1. Cause he can still pull out a gun and murder hundreds of innocent people even while lying dead on the ground. Duh.

        1. Sorry guys, it really was just an atrocious pun: second chance: second degree. Please don’t hate speech and bully me because of it. Peace.

  3. and mistakes allegedly made by prosecution.

    Look, the prosecutor has a right to make it home safely to his family…

    1. [should read] …and mistake made by prosecution in the first place.

  4. Looked for a moment like the article was about to become memory-holed. Then it reappeared. I guess it’s a second-chance article?

    1. Hold on a second!

      1. Here’s an example of my horrible puns. Hold equals *holed* in memory-holed. Second refers to him being given a second chance. I was riffing off 0sumGame’s pun.

  5. Sounds like it’s the police chief who should be called Jacquez.

  6. “Two years ago, Ashby entered Jacquez’s home, shot him in the back in front of his mother, and then pepper sprayed him as he lay dying. He was charged with second degree murder and became the first police officer in Colorado convicted of on-duty murder. Ashby claimed he believed Jacquez was a burglary suspect but there was no reasons offered for him to believe so.”

    Sounds like the cop should have plead insanity.

  7. All i can think about is, “WHERE CAN I GET THAT TEENAGE-MUTANT-NINJAS HAT?!?!”

    1. Also: Who takes selfies in public toilets?

  8. They also allege in the lawsuit that Ashby had a pattern of using “overwhelming force against any civilians who dared challenge his authority” because he was “permitted to police by his own rules” instead of getting “any basic training.”

    The entire point of being a police officer is to initiate violence upon anyone who fails to show sufficient respect. That is what they are trained to do. They do not enforce the law. They enforce their will. Calling them “law enforcement officers” is an insult to the law. They are “compliance officers,” because their only job is to make you obey.

  9. Charged doesn’t mean convicted, and convicted doesn’t mean sentenced. There is still a good chance that they will quietly let this guy go free before some other police department snatches him up. Being that he has shown he can commit murder without remorse, his services would be highly sought after.

    1. He’s convicted. Not sentenced, of course, so there’s a slap on the wrist possibility. Interesting to see how the appeal goes – its very hard to get convictions overturned, I believe, for “juror misconduct”.

  10. I’m going to say what we are all thinking after seeing that photo. This cop was only convicted because the victim here is obviously a white-Hispanic, and if he had been truly Hispanic or black, the cop would have walked.

    1. I’m going to say what we are all thinking after seeing that photo.

      That he was practicing what he would do to some cholo who didn’t show him respect?

    2. truly Hispanic

      You mean like George Zimmerman?

  11. This is why we need more Michael Hihn.

  12. Fun fact: Rocky Ford is known for growing melons.

  13. but there was were no reasons offered for him to believe so.

    Izzis one of the Democrat or Republican Reason staffers scrawling this screed? Let’s hope the family doesn’t come after our side for trying to weaken their case by association.

  14. If 99% of all cops were decent and honest, we’d expect to see a handful of cases like this each year in the US – cops from the dirty 1% getting convicted for some degree of criminal homicide for on-duty killings, even if not always for murder.

    When such cases are much rarer, it isn’t reasonable to conclude that cops are really 99.9% decent & honest – there’s too much other evidence for large numbers of cops being dirty. So the reasonable conclusion is that dirty cops are much more common than just 1% of all cops, and that cops get away with murder dozens of times each year.

    1. The fact that 0% of cops will rat out that 1% leads me to conclude that that 99% can’t be trusted.

      1. The standard argument is “There are no good cops. There are only bad cops who actively commit crimes, and bad cops who are accessories to those crimes.”

        1. If good cops existed, they would do something about bad cops.

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