The Norman Transcript

February 17, 2014

Three Moore Police officers on leave after theater patron’s death

By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript

MOORE — Three Moore Police Department officers are on administrative leave pending an investigation into the death of Norman’s Luis Rodriguez after an incident that took place at the Warren Theater in Moore Friday night.

“First and foremost, the Moore Police Department sends our condolences to the Rodriguez family,” MPD said in a statement released Monday. “Concerning the events that occurred early morning Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at the Moore Warren Theater involving three private security officers (one of which is a Moore Police officer) and two on-duty Moore Police officers, the investigation is still ongoing and parties involved, including witnesses, have exercised their right to counsel.”

Rodriguez was at the theater when an argument broke out between Rodriguez’s wife, Nair Rodriguez, and his daughter, Lunahi Rodriguez, reports indicate.

Nair told media outlets she stormed to the parking lot and her husband chased after her to try and calm her down. That is when the theater security personnel and the MPD interceded and tried to stop Luis, according to Nair.

“He was just trying to reach me,” Nair said in a television news report. “He wasn’t involved and the camera at Warren should be recording that. He was trying to calm me down because I was the one furious with my daughter.”

A scuffle ensued and Luis Rodriguez was handcuffed and later taken to the hospital where he died. According to MPD’s Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, a cause of death has not been established. Luis’ body is still at the medical examiner’s office.

“Officers were notified of a possible fight in the theater parking lot,” the MPD statement read. “All the events that took place once officers arrived at the incident involving the Rodriguez family are now under investigation. Details will be released once the investigation is complete.”

However, Lunahi said her father was beaten by the MPD and security officers.

“Five guys got on top of him,” Lunahi said in the television news report. “Beating him ruthlessly on the head. Just pow, pow, pow. Even with knees. When they flipped him over, you could see all the blood on his face. He was disfigured. You couldn’t recognize him.”

The three Moore Police officers involved are on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation. Detectives are reviewing video evidence from the incident and will be conducting interviews with all parties involved in the coming days. All of the findings will be sent to the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office.

Lewis said he doesn’t know if the security officers are still on duty at the theater.

“That’s between them and their agency,” Lewis said. “Our agency is investigating the whole thing as far as criminal activity. But as far as personnel issues, that’s on their department. But our detectives will investigate it criminally on them also.”

According to the Lunahi, the incident involving Luis Rodriguez and the Moore Police and theater security was recorded on Nair’s cell phone, which was taken into custody by the police.

“We took it from them,” Lewis said. “They did not want us to have it. But they showed one of our detectives there was video of the incident on it. So that’s why it was taken. Once they showed there was evidence on it, we have to take it to process the evidence. And she will get it back as soon as the DA gives it back to her. We’re finished with it. But the DA kept it for some reason.”

According to Lewis, this is normal procedure.

“There is no reason to use the cell phone if they don’t take it right then,” Lewis said. “There is no way to know if the evidence is pure. If we allow the evidence to leave the scene, then it’s no longer evidence. What we do is take, it’s logged into property. It’s not looked at until we get a warrant.”