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Jan 13, 1998

Two suspects in hit and run charge

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It has been a long and frustrating investigation for police, who for almost a month now have been trying in vain to find the driver and vehicle that killed a fellow officer while he rode his bike down East Collet Canal. But it is not that the police haven’t been busy. in fact one man claims that the cops have been too busy…trying to unfairly link him to the crime.

Salvador Lazaro, claims police harassment

I think that this is harassment that they are doing to web. My family is not living in peace like this. I just want to ask if they can please could left we alone, stop harassing we. If I could get through with, why if the police in the accident, to tell them instead of wasting time with we, that we innocent. To find the person that did it, because they are giving them time to do what ever he want to do to escape to go away with the vehicle.

Twenty eight year old Salvador Lazaro, a resident of Kings park says since December sixteenth, he along with his brother David and two friends have been constantly harassed and detained by the police in connection with the fatal hit and run accident of police officer Levi Spain. Lazaro believes, because of an unrelated incident involving a friend, the victim and another police officer, which occurred on that same fatal night of December fourteenth, that the police think they knocked down Spain. Lazaro who is the owner of a 1982 light blue Maxima, says he and his friends were at the Cool Spot Bar on Euphrates Avenue in the early morning of Sunday, December fourteenth when officer Spain and one P.C. Perez approached his friend known as “Rigo” and proceeded to take him into custody.

Salvador Lazaro

I was sitting down when I see that they were handcuffing him. So I get up and walked to see what was the problem. I did not even reached close to them, at a little distance when they pushed him and I dropped down and “Rigo” drop down. I do not remember if he was handcuffed already when he drop down. When I get up they had already taken him downstairs.

Lazaro says P.C. Perez then approached him and told him that if they promise to behave themselves and go straight home, their friend “Rigo” would be immediately released. Lazaro said after agreeing to follow the officers’ advice, five of them then got into his car and drove straight home. He said by the time he reached his residence at 5620 Lizarraga Avenue it was already after three that morning. Lazaro, who adamantly denies that he, his brother and friends know nothing or have anything to do with officer Spains’ death, told us that his car as well has also been seized by the police. According to Lazaro just this past Sunday morning, he accompanied the police to the scene of the accident around the same time when officer Spain was struck. His car was towed along the East Collet Canal, in an effort to have the police’s eyewitnesses get a good look at it. Lazaro said the eyewitnesses after seeing the car told the police, the vehicle was not the one they saw knock down the officer

Salvador Lazaro

Told them that it was not the vehicle, and they still try to tell the young lady if she is not sure, if that is not the vehicle instead of blue, they saw red and the girl told them no. But they still tell me that , “you could go with your family, but we will still have to take your vehicle for further investigation.

When we contacted Rudolph Orio, head of CIB, he told us that the reason why the men have been detained several times is because they can only hold an individual for seventy two hours at a time. Orio told us that the young men’s detentions are part of the departments’ ongoing investigation. As to the question of why the police would be holding a light blue car when their eyewitnesses report seeing a red, Orio’s response was that there is the possibility that the witnesses may be mistaken.

Salvador Lazaro was released this morning following his second detention but late word from his family is that just prior to newstime he has been taken in once again.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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