Why the rush to judgment?

March 13, 2008 5:10:11 PM PDT
This news of Deputy Craig Miller has civil rights organizations speaking out. We heard the same reaction over and over to Thursday's news. Why the rush to judgment? In other words, why the rush to arrest the civilian driver. Tuesday's revelation from the sheriff's department brings up old suspicions from local civil rights groups, that the law enforcement community protects itself.

Jesus Vieyra was the driver of the truck that collided with Deputy Miller. Vieyra was arrested and charged right away with criminal negligent homicide. An undocumented Mexican national, Vieyra has been in jail since February 21. His attorney says Vieyra is not at fault and explains why a witness at the scene says the deputy did not deploy his brake lights.

"If he's more than three times to legal limit, that's gonna affect his ability to hit the brakes, to react to surrounding traffic, to control his speed," said attorney Ron Hulson.

"If you're involved in an accident with a police officer, I've seen this before where the blame is put on the non-officer and the citizen is arrested," said Randall Kallinen with the American Rights Association.

Reaction from the League of United Latin American Citizens was swift, saying, "We question who did the initial investigation and if it was thorough. We question why wasn't an odor of alcohol detected at the scene. Why was there a rush to lock up Vieyra? We believe, no matter what the legal status of the other driver, the officer's priority would be to protect themselves."

Vieyra remains in solitary detention with immigration authorities. His bond is set at $70,000.

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