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OSBI asked to investigate officers' use of force in Warren Theatre death in Moore

Intense public scrutiny over the death of Luis Rodriguez, who died after being handcuffed in the theater’s parking lot early Saturday, led to the request for an independent investigation. Rodriguez’s family says he was beaten.
by Jennifer Palmer Published: February 20, 2014

— Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn has asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the in-custody death of a man who was handcuffed outside the Warren Theatre.

OSBI agents say the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Luis Rodriguez, 44, will be lengthy and time-consuming. Results of an autopsy will be crucial to the investigation, OSBI agents said.

Rodriguez died early Saturday following a scuffle with police, who were investigating a domestic disturbance. His family says he was beaten by the officers. A cellphone video of the incident has not been made public.

Three Moore police officers and two off-duty game wardens were attempting to detain Rodriguez after he failed to stop and show his identification; one of the officers and the game wardens were working security for the theater.

Mashburn and Moore Police Chief Jerry Stillings requested the OSBI inquiry because officers from two agencies were involved, said Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, a spokesman for Moore Police Department. Also, the intense public attention surrounding the man’s death led them to seek an outside agency to investigate.

“As of right now, our investigation will stop. We will give everything over to the OSBI,” Lewis said.

Rodriguez’s autopsy is pending toxicology and results could take two months or more, according to the state medical examiner’s office.

The three Moore officers involved are on administrative leave, while the game wardens were allowed to continue working.

Once the investigation is complete, Mashburn will decide whether anyone is at fault for Rodriguez’s death.

Funeral arrangements for Rodriguez are pending.

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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