The dialogue gets a little too peculiar as Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Murade realizes that he’s been shot.
“Where’s the gun?” Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy Jose Ruiz asked Aguilar seconds after his partner announced he had been shot.
“I don’t have any,” Aguilar said.
“I’ve been shot,” yelled Albert Murade for the second time.
“I didn’t shoot nobody,” responded Aguilar.
In the gestalt of law enforcement, this can’t possibly happen, because if Murade is shot, someone had to shoot him. The participants are limited to Murade, fellow deputy Ruiz, and the guy they’ve pinned to the ground, Aguilar. It’s just math at this point. Eliminate the answers that are unacceptable, and you arrive at the only possible conclusion.
Except Aguilar, the bad dude on the ground with two not-slim deputies atop him, has no gun, meaning that something is very wrong with the universe. Not to be deterred from their duty, Deputies Ruiz and Murade take the only course of action dictated by the only fact they accept.
Why was Aguilar on the ground?
The incident took place more than a year ago with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department initially telling the media that they shot and killed 23-year-old Noel Aguilar, a “known gang member,” after he pulled out a gun and shot a deputy.
Note the sequence problem. Aside from the facile and unhelpful characterization of Aguilar as a “known gang member,” usually more than sufficient to make people shrug as everyone know that “known gang members” deserve whatever happens to them, the story is that something happened “after he pulled out a gun and shot a deputy.” Who wouldn’t find that totally understandable? Certainly not the Orange County Register.
Authorities said Aguilar was riding his bicycle just before 10 a.m. Monday in 69th Way and Long Beach Boulevard, when he was stopped by two deputies and a struggle ensued. Aguilar broke free and ran, but deputies caught up to him and at one point, Aguilar tried to take one of the deputy’s handguns, authorities said.
“This resulted in both deputies firing their duty weapon at the suspect, who was also armed with his own handgun,” the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “The suspect was struck by gunfire and pronounced dead at the scene.”
Aguilar died, though it’s unclear whether he bled to death after the deputies pumped their bullets into him or because, after they pumped their bullets into him, one sat on him, asphyxiating him, and he received no medical treatment for the bullet wounds. But then, why would anybody give a damn about a “known gang member” who had just committed riding on a bicycle while being a “known gang member”?
During the struggle, one of the deputies was shot once in the abdomen. Authorities said a handgun was later recovered from the scene.
No doubt true that a handgun was recovered. Certainly proof of something, except for the detail neglected by the authorities’ comment, that the handgun belonged to a deputy. Not that the OC Register failed to include all extraneous details.
Court records show that Aguilar had a list of convictions in Long Beach that included grand theft auto, felony reckless driving and evading arrest, contempt of court, possession of a controlled substance and driving on a suspended license.
Aguilar was twice convicted for violating the terms of a criminal street gang injunction and was most recently charged with a third gang injunction violation on May 14, records show. City officials on Tuesday confirmed that Aguilar was on a gang injunction list in Long Beach and was known to local law enforcement.
So unworthy of any concern for his death, the article is constrained to include such nefarious conduct as driving on a suspended license. Certainly, his demise is no loss to society, this “known gang member” who drove on a suspended license.
But then the following month, the Los Angeles Times reported that deputy Murade had been shot by deputy Ruiz, not by Aguilar, whom they referred to as a “transient.”
But the sheriff’s department continued to insist that Aguilar had a gun, even if he didn’t shoot at it as they initially claimed. They also said he tried to grab one of their guns.
And they suggested that he may have even been the one who shot Murade with Ruiz’s gun.
There are assumptions made. A cop doesn’t shoot another cop. There are times when circumstances make that assumption impossible to credit, such as when there is no one else to blame, but as long as there is a guy like Aguilar involved, every ounce of belief gets wrapped around the only acceptable narrative.
When it turns out that Aguilar had no gun, the narrative shifts to Aguilar using Ruiz’s gun to shoot Murade. Because there is no acceptable narrative that one cop shot the other, then both murdered Aguilar because he was the only murder-worthy person to blame.
That the “authorities” then pitched the narrative that relieved their cop from responsibility for the only shot that good citizens care about, the one that landed in Murade’s gut, and smeared the dead man with his nasty criminal record of being a “known gang member” who drove on a suspended license, is just the typical playbook response. Nothing to get upset about here, was the subtext. This guy, this known gang member, this suspended-license driver, got what’s coming to him.
But now that the video has been revealed, a year after Noel Aguilar was murdered on the street because one deputy got shot by another deputy, and so they were entitled to kill one person who happened to have nothing to do with it, it turns out that every assumption the system force feeds the public was a lie.
The wounded deputy, a seven-year veteran with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Station in Compton, was shot in the abdomen at close range but he was expected to survive, officials said.
Whenever a cop gets shot in the line of duty, it’s a big deal. Breathless officials and newsfolk utter banal concern for his welfare, because it’s a very dangerous job and these are the people who risk their lives for our protection. That one cop shot another cop, so they both murdered a guy named Noel Aguilar, never makes its way into the official narrative, except when there’s video. The only concern for Aguilar was to make sure he was smeared as thoroughly as his criminal history allowed.
Of course, when the video only comes out a year later, it doesn’t always have the same impact as it would have had when the killing was fresh in our minds. Sometimes, but not always.