New grand jury indicts two officers

January 23, 2008 5:29:58 PM PST
A new grand jury put to work just Wednesday spent little time at work before indicting a couple of Pasadena police officers. The new grand jury replaced one from whom we heard yesterday. A paperwork mistake led to a judge disbanding it. All of its work in the past two months is now null and void, including the indictment of a Texas Supreme Court justice, an indictment which was later thrown out along with a number of other cases, too.

The assistant DA says he expects the accused officers to turn themselves in soon, no later than Monday. The officers, Jason Buckaloo and Christopher and Jones, both face charges of criminally negligent homicide for allegedly causing the death of Pedro Gonzales, Jr.

The medical examiner ruled that the 51-year-old's death last year was caused by one of eight fractured ribs that punctured a lung. He died in a Pasadena jail cell.

Shortly after his arrest last summer, grand jurors heard from a witness who says she saw officers Buckaloo and Jones beat Gonzales. She even called 911 at the time, but an ambulance never came.

The family's lawyer says after Gonzales' arrest, he complained of rib pain. The jail does have a signed refusal of medical treatment with Gonzales' name on it.

Aside from the broken ribs, his body was covered in bruises, including ones on his back. He also had two broken teeth.

The family's lawyer says they're confident the DA's office will probably prosecute this case. From the beginning, they say the police department lied to them about what happened.

"Initially, the family was told it was a heart attack, but as we found out later, they said that he was tripping over a walking hazard at the premises where this occurred," said "Later, it became that they were afraid because he was trying to resist. But here's a man who was in relatively frail condition. There were two vigorous officers who were easily able to handle him."

The attorney for the officers says he was surprised by the indictments. He told us, "It is my understanding the investigators for the Pasadena Police Department do not believe there was criminal conduct on the part of my clients."

As for the police department, they say the officers have been suspended and relieved of duty pending the outcome of this criminal proceeding.

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