Moore police respond to Norman man's death outside Warren Theatre

Luis Rodriguez, of Norman, stopped breathing while police officers tried to detain him after an altercation outside the Warren Theatre in Moore, OK.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: February 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm •  Published: February 18, 2014

The city’s police chief Tuesday defended the actions of officers being investigated after the death of a Norman man who was tackled and handcuffed early Saturday in the Warren Theatre parking lot.

“I know these officers, and I don’t believe there was any ill will,” Moore Police Chief Jerry Stillings said in a news conference.

Three Moore police officers and two off-duty game wardens were involved in the scuffle with Luis Rodriguez, 44. One of the officers and the game wardens were working security for the theater.

Rodriguez’s wife, Nair, caught some of the incident on video on her cellphone, which was confiscated by police. Though the phone was released to her Tuesday afternoon, she hasn’t shared the video to the media on the advice of her attorney.

Stillings said he didn’t see anything inappropriate in the video. The officers, who are on administrative leave, have not been named. The game wardens have been allowed to continue working while an investigation is conducted, said Bill Hale, assistant chief of law enforcement for the state Wildlife Conservation Department.

“No one in this police department relishes these kinds of moments,” Stillings said. “I know it’s a difficult job they do.”

Once his department completes its investigation, it will be referred to the Cleveland County district attorney’s office. He encouraged any other witnesses to the incident to come forward.

Nair Rodriguez says the officers brutally beat her husband and has been publicly demanding justice.

The public, too, has been looking for answers.

A post on the Moore Police Department’s Facebook page offering condolences to the Rodriguez family has generated hundreds of comments.

In an interview with The Oklahoman on Monday, she and her 19-year-old daughter, Luinahi, described how Luis Rodriguez was knocked to the ground, hit and kneed by the officers after he didn’t stop and provide his ID.

What happened?

What started as a quiet family evening at the theater watching “RoboCop” escalated once Nair Rodriguez got in a heated argument with her daughter and slapped the girl in the parking lot, Nair Rodriguez said. The five officers already were at the theater dealing with two patrons who passed out drunk in an auditorium, police said.

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by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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