Phoenix Police Officer Arrested After Tasering and Shooting Unarmed Man

Phoenix police Officer Richard Chrisman has been arrested after he first tasered and then shot Danny Frank Rodriquez, 29. He also shot the family dog. Another officer reported that neither he nor Chrisman were being threatened at the time.

Elvira Fernandez called the police after she felt her son might hurt her. Chrisman responded to the domestic violence call and within 15 minutes of his arrival, Rodriquez was dead. At the outset, according to reports, Rodriquez demanded a warrant and Chrisman reportedly shouted “I don’t need no warrant, mother******.”

Chrisman is a nine-year veteran who has been the subject of four internal inquiries including an excessive-force allegation in 2009.

Bond was set for Chrisman at $150,000 and he will be represented by the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.

If the mother sues for wrongful death, this could prove an interesting case where the police department raises a “rogue employee” defense. Given the charges, the department can argue that Chrisman violated both criminal law and police regulations.

Source: AZCentral

Jonathan Turley

27 thoughts on “Phoenix Police Officer Arrested After Tasering and Shooting Unarmed Man”

  1. Alas, twas always thus.

    Police: n. armed force for protection and participation

  2. lotta,

    You are making a lot of sense there girl … good, old fashioned, common sense.

  3. That’s because a lot of police departments don’t have that sort of three strikes policy. Can you find any that do? I don’t remember reading about that three complaint police department policy. What happens to complaints about police?

    It sounds like a lot of police departments are actually structured around funneling of various criminal payments for protection or to purchase criminal evidence. Police management just wants police officers who are “low-profile” and don’t “rock the boat”. It sounds like a lot of traditional police functions were sacrificed in problems related to the “War on Drugs”.

  4. “If the mother sues for wrongful death, this could prove an interesting case where the police department raises a “rogue employee” defense. Given the charges, the department can argue that Chrisman violated both criminal law and police regulations.”

    Except he wasn’t a rogue, he was acceptable to the police department and the department knew he was a dangerous character after several complaints. I’d be looking into loading on some charges that went to the matter of the department’s disregard for the safety of the public by not firing the officer earlier.

    I never worked anywhere that didn’t have a ‘three strikes’ firing policy. If you were a repeated problem, even if it was for relatively minor incidents, it was darn near impossible to keep from being terminated. That situation existed in the most structured employer I worked for, others had a first strike termination policy. I’m not saying that’s proper from an industrial justice point of view but no one had to get killed before the employer’s judgment was called into question.

  5. A lot of lawyers, according to various law blogs, are only being paid $10-15 /hour. These lawyers are not necessarily stupid, at least being smart enough to pass the state bar exam, and in fact are doing important work for big law. So if they are willing to work for big law for $10-15 /hour why won’t they work for the unrepresented public for $30-50/hour? 75 years ago lawyers were making about the same salaries as school teachers. Now, even though there is supposedly a surplus of lawyers, the minimum billing rate is about $150/ hour. Since more and more of the public is working for $5-10 /hour minus taxes, 20-40 hours of regular work is often required to buy one hour of attorney work. Something like 95% of the public is denied access to courts. If they file Pro Se, they run into PRO SE discrimination and are denied statutory procedures such as discovery, oral hearings, jury trials, and written findings. If they are criminal defendants, their lawyers are often totally overwhelmed by their work volume and under pressure to force their clients to plea bargain whether guilty or not.

    One idea is that there would be legal services markets. Lawyers and potentially paralegals and/or legal editors and consultants could sit at desks with Internet connections and work quietly. They could post a summary of their experience and expertise as well as their rate in 15 minute increments. They could also include lists of current clients so that conflicts could be avoided. The public could circulate and slide their cards to buy legal services from the vendor that appeals to them in 15 minute increments. There is a lot of cheap space available in which legal services markets could be set up or it could even be on-line.

  6. “In many states, wrongful death judgments are too low for an attorney to be interested in participating unless the person killed is a high wage earner.”
    What other profession allows this sort of ‘discriminatory thinking’ when the public engaged is forced to behave according to proscribed rules and ‘obligatory’ laws????
    Why are lawyers who behave in this fashion any different from politicians and judges whose behaviour is tainted by profit motive?
    More importantly…how do we change this dynamic?

  7. Currently, police arrest procedure is recorded in formal documents. You can get them thru state open records/ freedom of information statutes or on-line.

  8. tomdarch, Hear, hear. Too many are abusing their power these days, from where I’m sitting.

  9. How long until (if it hasn’t happened already) a local politician attempts to dismiss this apparent murder by saying, “Oh, well, he was just a bad apple…”

    It always drives me nuts when people dismiss dangerous police with the phrase “bad apple.” The original phrase “one bad apple spoils the barrel” has an important point. Because even one bad apple will rapidly cause all the apples around it to rot, you have to vigilant, frequently checking all the apples and throwing out the ones that are going bad.

    Whether it’s local police or military/CIA interrogators, their superior officers and the elected officials who oversee them are responsible to be on guard to check for the individuals who are abusing their power – and we need to hold those higher ranking people responsible when they fail to remove the “bad apples” from duty.

  10. The question is how to use the Internet to protect our rights. For instance, can pro se litigants join pools to share legal knowledge and edit each others documents without being charged with unauthorized practice of law? Can complaints about unethical or criminal lawyers be made public even when no regulatory response is forthcoming and can regulators be required to divulge why they didn’t reprimand a particular lawyer in response to a particular complaint? What about complaints about bad judges — right now those are secret too. What about the secret procedures used in pro se litigation — can we force those procedures to be made public? For instance, some federal courts claim that The Prison Litigation Reform Act allows the judges to sua sponte dismiss non prisoner complaints and some claim it even allows them to sua sponte dismiss paid pro se complaints by non prisoners. If there was a published list of which federal districts claim a judicial right to sua sponte dismiss paid pro se complaints, I personally would never live, visit, or buy property in those districts.

    Is there a public list of which cities never do random drug or steroid use tests of police officers? That might be a factor in this case. I looked thru the City of Denver website and it looks like they have never done random drug tests of its police and that they don’t test the police for use of steroids. Some cities do.

  11. Thank god for the internet … it doesn’t protect us from all the bullies that carry a badge but it does make it easier to shine the light of discovery upon them

  12. “creeping fascism” is one description of what is happening in the U.S.

    Another term is “taking in steps”. Our rights are being taken from us step by step.

  13. Arresting the policeman in these circumstances is extremely unusual, so I’m guessing the evidence against Chrisman is pretty damning.

    I would strongly suggest NOT pursuing charges against the second officer, even if some minor charge might normally be warranted. The prosecutor should do nothing that would discourage a crack in the blue wall of silence, and prosecuting the whistle-blower would be a big-time discouragement.

  14. “Chrisman is a nine-year veteran who has been the subject of four internal inquiries including an excessive-force allegation in 2009.”

    Bullies abound. They’re outnumbered by the good ones for now, but we’re headed for real trouble, if something doesn’t change. The phrase “creeping fascism” comes to mind.

  15. For what its worth:

    UNIONTOWN, PA. — Police in a southwestern Pennsylvania city say they charged two men with public drunkenness – after they knocked on the police station door.

    A Uniontown police report says 30-year-old Alan Scritchfield, of Uniontown, and 30-year-old Peter Dominick, of McClellandtown, came to the police station about 9 p.m. Sunday.

    A police sergeant says Dominick could only slur his words while Scritchfield stood drinking out of a plastic cup. Asked what was in it, Scritchfield allegedly told police, “Alcohol, Crown Royal” before using an expletive to describe how drunk he was.

    Scritchfield’s home phone is disconnected and The Associated Press could not immediately locate a listed number for Dominick.

    Police say they subdued Dominick with a stun gun when he realized he was being arrested and tried to run away

  16. The mother waived the right to a warrant when she made the domestic abuse call. If the mother sues for wrongful death she might have to do that pro se. In many states, wrongful death judgments are too low for an attorney to be interested in participating unless the person killed is a high wage earner.

  17. The other officer on the scene told police investigators that Rodriquez was unarmed and that neither officer faced any serious threat of violence, according to court documents that describe his interview with police investigators.


    When the man refused to let officers in, Virgillo said, Chrisman responded by holding his service weapon to the man’s temple and stating that he didn’t need a warrant.

    Should the second officer be charged as well?

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