Slain Officer's Widow Sues Killer's Employer, Threatens City
POSTED: 8:01 am CDT May 20, 2008
HOUSTON -- The widow of a Houston police officer killed in the line of duty has threatened to sue the city and filed a lawsuit Monday morning against a business owner who employed her husband's killer, KPRC Local 2 reported.
Jossyln Johnson has demanded the city change its policy regarding the number of officers in a patrol car.
Johnson, a Houston police officer herself, said that her husband, Rodney, would still be alive if he had a partner in his patrol car.
Juan Quintero murdered Officer Rodney Johnson in his patrol car during a traffic stop on Sept. 21, 2006. Quintero was handcuffed in the back of Johnson's patrol when he pulled out a gun he had hidden in his waistband and fatally shot Johnson.
Josslyn Johnson said she wants the city to require two police officers per patrol car for the officers' safety. If the city does not make the policy change by June, Josslyn Johnson said she will seek damages from the city from her husband's death.
"The fact that we go home every night is important to us and our family and it shouldn't be an issue," she said. "We need two men in each unit. You need someone there with you to back you up when you arrive on the scene. You just don't know what the scene will result in."
The city of Houston responded to Josslyn Johnson's threat.
"It will be up to Chief Harold Hurtt and his command to make the decision as to what to do with the HPD recourses," a spokesman for the city said. "Everything will be evaluated by the city".
The Houston Police Department Union said it supports and agrees with Jossyln Johnson.
"The bottom line is HPD needs more man power. Before Officer Johnson was killed, two other officers were killed in he line of duty because they were alone," a union spokesman said.
Ben Dominguez, Johnson's attorney, also announced that a civil suit has been filed against Quintero's employer, Robert Camp of Camp Landscaping in Deer Park. Dominquez said Josslyn Johnson is suing him for negligence.
"The owner of the company gave a man with a warrant out for his arrest, and who had alcohol and drug problems, a car to drive," said Dominguez. "He did not have a driver's license and he did not train him or teach him well. We believe if Camp did not employ Quinterro, Officer Johnson's death might have never happened."
Dominguez said Johnson wants damages of no less than $10 million from Camp.
KPRC Local 2 was unsuccessful in attempts to reach anyone with Camp Landscaping for comment.
Camp has also been charged with a federal crime. In January, the U.S. Attorney's Office charged him with harboring an illegal alien. United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle said Camp helped Quintero illegally enter the United States in 1999 and gave him a job and a place to live after Quintero was deported in 1998. Camp also posted bond for Quintero in 1998 when Quintero was charged with indecency with a child.
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