More Questions in Lobato Shooting

August 2005

New documents have been released in the police shooting of unarmed Frank Lobato. It looks like the real question is going to be: Did Officer Ranjan Ford get "startled" and accidentally discharge his gun? Ford has denied that, but as Denver radio guy and former prosecutor Craig Silverman says, for Ford to admit such a mistake would be "professional suicide. " The new documents include those from the investigation conducted by Denver Homicide Chief Jon Priest. Priest concluded:

.... there was a "high probability" that Ford pulled the trigger not as part of a trained reaction to a threat but as a "sympathetic" response to the movement of Frank Lobato, a naked, 63-year-old man who may have had a soda can in his hand.

Denver Safety Manager Al LaCabe wrote at the end of his 22-page report:

......that he was "not completely convinced" that Ford "fired his weapon intentionally." "I believe there is a reasonable possibility that officer Ford may have simply been startled by Frank Lobato's movements," LaCabe wrote, "or interpreted those movements as a deadly ambush and momentarily reacted while his finger was on the trigger of the weapon, causing him to unintentionally squeeze the trigger while simultaneously ducking."

If Ford didn't intend to shoot Lobato, he shouldn't be a street cop. At least, not before he undergoes extensive re-training. which is going to take more than 90 days, the length of the suspension Ford received.