After a PIT maneuver, the van that Jason Wilkinson was driving ran into a telephone pole. Officer Torres and Officer Key of the Vancouver Police Department approached the van, Torres had his weapon drawn and approached the van moving toward the passenger side of the vehicle. Officer Key approached the driver's side of the vehicle and grabbed the door handle and fell to the ground.
There were two civilian eyewitnesses to the shooting, Anthony Davis and another individual that has never been interviewed. Immediately after the shooting Davis was interviewed by Eric O'Dell and Stuart Hemstock of the Clark County Sheriff's Office and Vancouver Police Department respectively.
During Davis's 22 minute recorded interview he was interrupted 16 times by the officers. The interview questions were non-sensical and were not designed to find the facts as to what happened that fateful day. Instead, they were intent on clearing Torres of the murder regardless of the facts.
O'Dell goes to great lengths in order to get Anthony Davis to change his story as to what he saw that day. He repeatedly shows up at Davis's residence and tries to get him one-on-one in order to secure his testimony. O'Dell lies to Davis and tells him that a reporter stated that he had moved his car from the scene due to having marijuana on him. In other words, O'Dell informs him he thinks that Davis committed a crime that he could be charged with.
Here is the report that O'Dell writes:
On Wednesday, May 11th, at approximately 1045 hours, I contacted Anthony Davis at the residence of his girlfriend, XXXXXX, at XXXXXX, Vancouver. I asked Davis if he could respond to the scene with his car and place himself where he thought he had pulled to the curb on the day of the incident. Anthony agreed and met me at 49thStreet and 40thAvenue at approximately 1115 hours in his crème colored 1995 Mazda four door Protégé, Montana license plate XXXXX.
Davis drove the same car that he was in on Sunday and placed it where he thought he had been parked and observed this incident. I marked the driver’s side tire locations on the street with orange paint and Detective Randon Walker took photographs where he was. Deputy Harada later went out and entered the orange markings into Total Station to be later mapped into the scene.
Davis told me at this time that the officer who had laid on the street in front of his car was the one that he had motioned to, telling him that he was going to move his car. He told me that he had pulled his car into the driveway at 4805 NE 40thAvenue.
I had heard that Davis had told a news reporter that he had moved his car out of the scene because he had some marijuana in his car and I asked Davis if he had told a reporter this. Davis denied making this comment to any reporters and added that he told one that he had been going for some smokes, and they must have misinterpreted smokes to mean marijuana.
I thanked Davis for his cooperation in responding to the scene and he left at approximately 1135 hours.
On Friday, May 13th, at approximately 1100 hours, Detective Hemstock and I contacted Anthony Davis at the residence of his girlfriend, XXXXX, at XXXXX Vancouver. I asked Davis if he could come to my office to read his transcript of his taped interview from 05/08 and let us know if it was accurate or if he wanted to add or change anything. Davis agreed to meet with us at 1 pm this date at the CCSO MCU Office.
At 1140 hours I received a phone call from Davis asking to postpone the interview. He said he had talked to a couple of attorney’s (Thayer, McMullen, and Phelan) and was advised that he should not talk to us unless they were present and none of them could make a 1 o’clock appointment today. I told Davis that was fine that we could reschedule and for him to call me with a date and time.
On Tuesday, 05-17-05, I contacted Davis by phone and asked if he had picked a time for an interview. Davis said he hadn’t and that he had contacted a different attorney, but couldn’t recall his name. I advised Davis that I was nearing the conclusion of my investigation and I strongly advised him obtaining an attorney so we could sit down and set the record straight. Davis told me he just wanted to do right by the Wilkinson family and that he would contact me. I have not been contacted by Davis as of 05-20-05.
I have not told Davis the reporter he talked to about the marijuana was Dan Tilken from Channel 2 News or that I have placed his vehicle in the Total Station mapping and he places himself 8 feet from Officer Key’s car and would have been noticed.
Anthony Davis became the focus of O'Dell's investigation. Instead of interviewing the 4 people that Rick Torres talked to immediately after the shooting, O'Dell does a background check into Anthony Davis and interviews reporters that Davis spoke to after the shooting to garner evidence to discredit Anthony Davis.
Immediately after the shooting, before Officer Key and Officer Torres are interviewed, Chief Martinek of the VPD and O'Dell and Hemstock start weaving a story made up of whole cloth to the local news media that Key had fallen down and Torres shot Jason Wilkinson in order to protect him from being ran over by Jason while he was backing up the minivan.
Contrarily, Davis places Officer Key in the middle of the road when Torres started shooting Jason. In 2008, Davis submits an affidavit in support of Jason's family describing what transpired that day which depicts a murder.
In spite of O'Dell's documented attempts to get in touch with Anthony Davis, he never re-interviews him and the homicide investigation is closed in 2005, shortly after the shooting. O'Dell recommends to the prosecutors that no charges be brought against Torres and that the shooting was "justifiable homicide".
From the synopsis in the IA investigation written by O'Dell, he strangely incorporates one piece of Anthony Davis's testimony in the synopsis. He puts in the report that Rick Torres approached the van with his gun drawn.
This small and consequential remark in the report is telling. The "discredited" Davis was the only person that made the remark that Torres had his gun drawn as he approached the van. In fact, Chief Martinek immediately realized that if Torres had his gun drawn as he approached the minivan, he had the intention of harming Jason. Chief Martinek told the news media that Torres did not have his gun drawn when he was approaching the minivan. Neither Torres nor Key's had testified yet, and Martinek was spinning this to the news media in order to shield Torres and VPD from liability.
Torres approached the van with his gun drawn, signifying he intended to use his weapon for a purpose. That initial purpose was obviously not to protect Officer Key from getting ran over by Jason as he backed up the van.
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