Nair Rodriguez has damn good reason to be angry and emotional. Her husband, Luis, was killed by police in front of her and her daughter, in Moore, Oklahoma.
The underlying facts of this killing, which never made “big” news at the time, were sadly pedestrian.
Luis, age 44, his wife Nair, and their then 19-year-old daughter, Luinahi, went to the movie theatre and together watched a movie, Robocop. The theatre served alcohol and although there were security officers working at the theatre (two off-duty game warden officers and one off-duty Moore police officer), local Moore police were summoned because of intoxicated patrons in the theatre.
However, Luis and Nair were not the intoxicated patrons. The autopsy revealed no alcohol in Luis’ bloodstream. Rather, in the parking lot of the theatre, Nair and her daughter had a dispute and Nair slapped her daughter. In fact, in the video you can hear Nair telling the officer that their daughter “has been treating us like crap” and that she was the one who had slapped her.
And, of course, because it takes a village:
An observer had witnessed the slap and reported it to the police who had come to the theatre. In police framing, this constituted a “domestic incident” and “domestic abuse” in need of investigation as can also be heard on the video.
As Luis followed his wife to the car, trying to get her to calm down, he was targeted by police because, well, reasons. When he failed to immediately comply, because he was stuck on the good guy curve, they pepper sprayed him and took him down. After all, if there’s a “domestic incident,” there has to be a guy at fault, and what more likely guy than the Hispanic one? The officers were “cleared” of any wrongdoing.
In frustration and anger after being barred from a cop’s deposition in her civil suit against the police, Nair Rodriguez took to Facebook to express her feelings about what happened to her husband, calling the cops “pigs.” They didn’t like that at all, so they went after her.
She called the cops who killed her husband pigs? Oh my. So the Moore cops went after the woman they turned into a widow.
In court documents, the parties, including the city of Moore, Moore Police Department and Moore Warren Theatre, accused Nair Rodriguez of trying to incite violence in a Facebook video where she refers to the police as “pigs” and pleads for justice for her late husband.
Nair Rodriguez denies she ever threatened violence against police or encouraged others to harm anyone.
The reporting, unfortunately, provides little information as to what, exactly, is being alleged against Nair and what legal mechanism is being used to pursue this claim. But the rhetoric is clear:
“She made comments about her ‘husband killers’ and ‘won’t somebody please help me’ — in this day and age this could mean a number of things,” said David Kirk, an attorney who represents the Moore Warren Theater and three off-duty game wardens who were working as security guards at the theater the night of Luis Rodriguez’s death.
“A number of people involved in the lawsuit thought that was tremendously inappropriate and we felt the need to act. We don’t think it was very nice of her to threaten the lives and safety of our clients,” Kirk said.
Not “very nice”? Ain’t that a shame. It’s not very nice to kill her husband, either, particularly given that it was all just a silly mistake. Oopsie. Dead guy. Widowed wife. But, jeez, stercus accidit, have a nice day.
“As you hear, here on the 13th floor is where they are conducting the depo of Joseph Bradley, the killer, the one who asphyxiated Luis and he is still free of responsibility. This is the system,” Nair Rodriguez said in the video. “Please, if you can help me, I know it would not be in vain.”
Attorneys for the defendants say showing the location of the law office in the video was an attempt to encourage the public to harm police officers in the case.
Is this a call to imminent violence?
“Ms. Rodriguez’s pleas for help and showing the building where the ‘killer’ is giving his deposition, is particularly alarming. This court is certainly aware that all across the nation, law enforcement officers are being targeted,” the defendants said a court filing. “Events in Baton Rouge, Dallas and elsewhere stand as real-life examples of how social media and inflammatory rhetoric can incite members of the public — even those that have no connection to this case or the Rodriguez family — to engage in conduct with tragic loss of life.”
At The Watch, Radley Balko pointed out the absurdity of police groups arguing a position that makes police look too easily frightened to be able to perform their job. Mean words and lack of respect scares them, hurts their feelings, paralyzes them with fear so that they can’t bear to go out on the street and perform the function for which they’re paid.
Nair Rodriguez’s exercise of free speech, calling the cops “pigs,” seeking help, trying to alert others to the harm done to her husband (and lest we forget, the cops killed her husband, which, using the ordinary rules of language, would make them “killers”) is now targeted via claims that rival the Butterfly Effect for the fear she evokes in the Moore police?
Perhaps if the police in Moore don’t want a woman they turned into a widow to express herself on social media and say mean and scary things, they shouldn’t kill guys for no reason.