*Talk about a case of lopsided justice. Daniel Lopez is set to be executed at 6 p.m. tonight by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas. He was convicted of killing a veteran police officer in 2009.
But before you go judging Lopez you should know this: He didn’t point a gun and shoot this officer. There was no altercation where he got the upper hand. The officer’s death was the result of an automobile chase. Lopez was fleeing police in a high speed chase when he hit Corpus Christi Police Lieutenant Stuart Alexander, 47, who had been placing spikes on the road to flatten tires.
Lopez’s car struck the officer and sent him flying 175 feet (53 meters) in the air, according to court documents.
It is a very unfortunate incident indeed. And certainly one that Lopez should rightfully be held accountable for. But death by execution? Especially when so many cops continue to kill African American suspects...intentionally, and not be held accountable.
What’s wrong with this picture?
When speaking with our resident retired Police Sergeant, Cheryl Dorsey, she offers concerns because she doesn’t know the backstory. She says, and I’m paraphrasing, without knowing Lopez’s criminal history, though the punishment may appear harsh, this would be information that might justify it.
Alexander had been on the force for 20 years. So right away, noting his stature as Lieutenant, certainly gives motive, if you will, that he was well respected.
Of course Lopez couldn’t compete with that.
And Dorsey says she would like to believe that no judge would use this as a reason to deliver a harsher sentence.
According to police, Lopez rammed patrol cars and tried to run over other officers in a pursuit that began after he fled a traffic stop.
He was shot twice in the incident, by the way and later admitted he tried to get away because he thought he was being pursued for a warrant regarding his probation. In what can be seen as a shocking admission, Lopez said that although he did not intend to kill the Lieutenant, he does feel that he should die for the crime; and for years even fought to speed up the date. So he has waived his right to appeal his death sentence.
Lawyers continue to fight on his behalf filing papers that question his mental competency. They say that Lopez is using the system to commit suicide.
If the execution goes ahead, it will be the 528th in Texas, the most of any state since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
As of Wednesday, the execution is set to proceed as the U.S. Supreme Court denied a motion filed on Lopez’s behalf.
So my dilemma is this…and I am reminded that in my conversation with Dorsey, she compared the scenario with that of a drunk driver killing someone, unintentionally; while behind the wheel. Lopez’s crime, by his own admission, was unintentional. He ran the Lieutenant over while he was fleeing police. There is no disputing that he committed a terrible crime. Its the punishment I question, for the reasons mentioned earlier: Police intentionally kill suspects almost daily, but rarely do they even suffer consequences.