FBI to begin investigation into shooting of US Air Force MP

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Thursday, February 2, 2006

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently investigating if a possible civil rights violation was committed by a sheriff's deputy of the San Bernardino County after the shooting of an unarmed U.S. Air Force Security Force officer.

The military policeman, Senior Airman Elio Carrion, 21, was shot while on leave after serving a six month deployment in Iraq. The incident took place on Sunday, in Chino, California, after a short police chase. Carrion was the passenger of Luis Fernando Escobedo, 21, when police began chasing Escobedo's blue Chevrolet Corvette for speeding. The car reached over speeds of 100 mph (160 km/h) during the short five minute chase.

After the chase ended in a crash near his house, Jose Luis Valdez began taping the accident aftermath. The grainy, low-quality videotape shows Carrion laying on the ground with the officer standing over him. The deputy appears to say, "Stay on the ground." The deputy then seems to say "Get up" several times. Carrion then said, "I'm going to get up." As Carrion begins to rise, the deputy fires three shots which hit Carrion in the chest, leg and side. After Carrion is hit he said, "I mean you no harm." The deputy responded by shouting "Shut the fuck up" twice, and then "You don't get up!" A neighbor is heard saying, "You told him to get up." The video shot by Valdez was given to police, with a copy sold by him to television station KTLA.

Carrion is now in the hospital and in good condition.

Cindy Beavers, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department stated the deputy has been put on paid leave. Beavers also mentioned that Sheriff Gary Penrod had invited the FBI to join the investigation. The FBI released a statement confirming this.

Penrod issued a statement on Monday saying, "As with all investigations, the circumstances involved in this shooting will be reviewed, it would be inappropriate for me to make any additional comments until the investigation is completed."

Experts say the video is open to interpretation.

Last week, in a similar but unrelated incident, a news helicopter caught footage of St. Louis, Missouri police officers using what appears to be excessive force on a suspect in detaining him.