[Hpn] Police shot and killed wrong man,we should all be outraged at this street blood lust!

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Wed, 21 Jul 2004 13:44:05 -0400

Error delayed care for bleeding man

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2004

Error delayed care for bleeding man


By Elise Banducci

Mercury News

Because of a dispatcher's error, Rodolfo Cardenas lay bleeding and
handcuffed without medical care for 12 minutes after San Jose police had
given the OK for paramedics to treat him, a criminal grand jury was told
Other revelations from the hearing's second day included that San Jose
police refused to join state agents in their high-speed chase of Cardenas
down residential streets, in part because they believed it was too
The dramatic day of testimony began to answer some nagging questions that
have lingered since Feb. 17, the day Cardenas was misidentified as fugitive
parolee David Gonzales. Cardenas was shot in the back and killed by Michael
Walker, a California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement agent.
Walker and other state agents chased Cardenas after they saw his van driving
away from a San Jose garage where an informant told agents Gonzales would
The grand jury hearing the testimony in public -- rather than in private, as
such proceedings are usually conducted -- must decide whether a crime was
committed or whether Walker had a ``reasonable'' belief that he was in
imminent danger at the time of the shooting.
The Mercury News reported March 20 that there was an unexplained delay in
treating Cardenas.
On Tuesday, taped records revealed a harried police dispatcher failed to
properly inform the fire department that medical personnel could approach
the bleeding man.
The records also showed that police officers repeatedly inquired about what
was keeping the ambulance.
According to the recordings, an officer at the scene told the dispatcher at
1:24 p.m. that the scene was secure. But the dispatcher, who was juggling
numerous calls from other responding officers, failed to translate the infor
mation, which was delivered via police code, for the fire department. That
failure delayed sending an ambulance and paramedics to the scene. A
dispatcher gave the fire department clearance 12 minutes later. It was
unclear if that dispatcher was the same one as before.
``OK, is it a secure area yet?'' the fire department asks at one point.
``Hold on a minute!,'' replies the dispatcher, who hung up before answering
the question.
Meanwhile, officers worked around Cardenas to photograph the scene and
search the area.
Also Tuesday, San Jose police testified that they were bewildered to see
state agents screeching through downtown in unmarked vehicles.
At one point, Cardenas and Walker headed the wrong way down a one-way
``All the unmarked vehicles are all over the place,'' one officer told
dispatch. ``I think we ought to call their supervisor.'' Later, the officer
added, ``The unmarked vehicles are blowing red lights.''
At another point, a California Highway Patrol dispatcher asks, ``Why are we
on city streets?''
Records also show that a dispatcher repeatedly asked for the name of the man
agents thought they were chasing and the license plate of the van.
``Can I call you right back with his name and his identifier,'' one of the
agents finally answers the dispatcher.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Lane Liroff hammered away at the
agents during their testimony.
``So you're running around the streets of San Jose with the siren on after a
car you don't -- you can't see, for a suspect you don't know the name of in
a car you don't know the license plate of, is that about it?'' Liroff asked
California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement agent Brian Link.
``That's correct,'' Link replied.
Gonzales, the man state agents were actually looking for, was wanted on a
parole violation for a drug offense.
San Jose police said they would not have risked chasing Gonzales on
residential streets for such a crime.

Contact Elise Banducci at ebanducci@mercurynews.com or (408) 295-3983.