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Vinny

The Name Game

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Which names can you identify off the top of your head?

 

Eleanor Bumpurs

 

Charles Hill

 

Ryan Sever

 

Amadou Diallo

 

Rodney King

 

Sean Bell

 

John Collado

 

Jason Richard Bitz

 

Michael Nida

 

John Loxas

 

James Whitehead

 

If you are completely unfamiliar with the story of James Whitehead, a war hero, who saved the lives of many on the battlefields of Iraq, that’s sad. According to most accounts, he was sitting in his truck, unarmed, when he was shot in cold blood by an off duty cop. The particular cop had a record of using excessive unnecessary force, and had previously punched a teenage girl in the face, as well as swinging a metal pipe at a man (missing, and breaking his fellow officers leg).

According to the officer’s police chief, the off duty cop “could not have possibly felt physically threatened by Whitehead.”

 

An eyewitness to the shooting testified “I could see (off-duty Orange police captain Robert) Arnold was out of control . . . . He came at James (Whitehead) with the intent to kill him and that is exactly what he did. It was all just so crazy to get to that point. There was a yelling; then there was a shooting. Then (Whitehead) was dead.” The witness tells that “James stood up and said, 'You shot me,’ while looking Arnold in the face,” and that “Arnold just looked at him and said, 'I damn sure did.’ Then, James just fell back in the truck and died.”

 

The testimony of another witness:

[The victim] told Arnold to shoot him and used a racial slur, Hebert said. He saw Whitehead lean forward, then he heard a gunshot, he testified.

 

And yet a third eyewitness

 

Arnold picked Whitehead up by the shoulders and stood him up outside the truck, he said. Whitehead again told Arnold to shoot him and yelled a racial slur, Bosarge said. That’s when Arnold shot him, he said.

 

All three eye witnesses indicated that the victim did not use force, or act in a threatening manner, other than to call Arnold a pejorative racial term.

 

All three eye witnesses testified that Arnold never identified himself as a police officer.

 

 

Arnold had “use of force” records that outnumbered any other officer on the force (including at least three instances of substantially injuring juveniles and a fellow officer) – but was not prosecuted.

 

Oh, that testimony, above….. and more below. It was all testimony during an arbitration, where the officer was attempting to get his job back. He succeeded. They never did charge him or prosecute him for the crime. His Police Chief did suspend him indefinitely. But, the city was ordered to reinstate him with back pay. After shooting an unarmed war hero, in cold blood.

 

UPDATE: Video testimony was given by Charles Bosarge, a customer at O'Reilly Auto Parts who was in the parking lot when James Whitehead was shot. Bosarge said he is from Louisiana, but was in Orange when his truck broke down. He met someone who was going to help fix the truck and they went to the auto parts store to look for a part. Bosarge said that when he was in the parking lot, he saw Whitehead walk out of the store and he was yelling. He said Robert Arnold walked up to him with a flashlight in one hand and handcuffs in the other. The two men kept yelling at each other, but made no physical contact, Bosarge testified.

 

Bosarge said he saw Whitehead walk around a truck to get into the passenger's seat and Arnold walk around the back of the truck to go toward him. He said he thinks that in that time, Arnold walked back to his own truck to put up the flashlight. He saw Arnold walk back toward Whitehead yelling and saw Arnold pull out a gun, he testified. Whitehead told Arnold to shoot him and called him a racial slur while sitting in the truck's passenger seat, said Bosarge. Arnold picked up Whitehead by the shoulders and stood him up outside the truck, he said. Whitehead again told him to shoot, called him a racial slur and Arnold shot him, said Bosarge. He said Whitehead fell back into the seat and yelled, "he killed me."

 

UPDATE: A man who knew James Whitehead almost all of his life was the second person to testify in former Orange police officer Robert Arnold's hearing Tuesday morning. Randy Edwards said he drove Whitehead to O'Reilly Auto Parts on July 26. Edwards said after he and Whitehead left the auto parts store, where Arnold had placed a hand on Whitehead's chest and told him to calm down, the two walked back to Edwards' pickup truck. As Whitehead walked around the back of the truck and into the passenger's side, Edwards said he saw Arnold walking quickly toward Whitehead, holding handcuffs and a flashlight. Arnold told Whitehead to put the handcuffs on, Edwards said.

 

Edwards said Arnold pulled open the passenger side door, where Whitehead was sitting, pulled out a gun and told Whitehead he was going to kill him. Edwards said Whitehead didn't say anything. Edwards then heard a gunshot. Edwards said he heard Whitehead say, "You just shot me." Arnold replied, "I sure did," Edwards said. There are at least 12 witnesses who will be testifying in the hearing.

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