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Mar 2, 2017

Cop Not Guilty, Colleague to be Tried Again for Fatal Shooting of Prisoner

David Griffith

A verdict has been handed down in the Southern Session of the Supreme Court in Dangriga in relation to a highly-publicized police-involved shooting three years ago. Eighteen year old Rasheed Elijio was attempting to escape from police custody in Punta Gorda along with one Brian Garcia in May of 2013. He was hit with a single gunshot fired by Constable David Griffith from a point-thirty-eight revolver while sitting in a tree.  He later died of his injuries.  Griffith, represented by Oscar Selgado, and fellow officer Leo Cho were charged sixteen months later for manslaughter and abetment to manslaughter, respectively.  Cho is accused of handing over a weapon for Griffith to use to shoot Elijio.  But a jury deadlocked on the manslaughter charge, necessitating an order of retrial by the judge.  However, they acquitted Cho of the abetment charge.  Cho’s attorney, Richard “Dickie” Bradley, told News Five this afternoon that the case against his client was riddled with inconsistencies and mishandling of evidence by Police.

 

Richard “Dickie” Bradley

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney for Leo Cho

“Sloppiness played a big role in this trial, in the sense that nobody brought any record, can back and confirm which police signed for which firearm. They know that there were many nine-millimeters; they know that there were several thirty-eight revolvers, and there was at least one referred as a sub-machine gun, an automatic weapon which fires a lot of bullets, rapidly. All those or most of those guns were being fired during the course of trying to recapture the two escapees.  Explain why is it you only send three guns to be tested by the lab, when there were at least a dozen guns involved in the matter? And why is it, in court, they only brought one gun, which turned out to be an old rusty gun with no serial number on the face of it; the  serial number was somewhere inside, you had to remove the two hand grips – listen, the amount of irregularities would take me all evening to explain to you. But not only were there a multitude of irregularities and facts that did not add up to what was being proposed to the jury – for example, the jurors were told that my client, Leo Cho, handed his weapon to the next officer, thereby facilitating and purposely abetting the shooting of the escaped prisoner. And no evidence came out in court to that effect – in fact, the evidence from the witnesses was the opposite, that he did not give any gun to anyone.”

 

Additionally, in the case of Griffith, police conducted an identification exercise in Belmopan that the judge directed be thrown out because it was flagrantly in violation of the established regulations.  Cho is now expected to be re-instated to the Police Department.

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