Authorities have recently cleared the two officers involved in the police shooting, at the Timbers Motel, on February 28th, of any wrong-doing, finding that lethal force was justified. Yet questions remain unanswered, and according to those in power’s own statements, someone is lying.
At about 2pm on February 28th, GJPD Officers Isaac Gallegos and Allen Kwiatkowski responded to a domestic dispute call at the Timbers Motel. After talking to Nancy Ingram, officers went to the room to arrest her husband, Brent Ingram, on a couple of misdemeanor warrants. A few minutes later Brent Ingram lay dead with two bullets in his chest.
Serious questions started to be asked when, on March 2nd, a Daily Sentinel article interviewed Nancy Ingram. “...The officers then dragged her husband’s body to the doorway and removed his clothing. ‘Even the underwear, his privates and everything were showing,’ she said.”
The next day, March 3rd, about a dozen people protested outside of the police department, questioning the use of force and tampering with a crime scene by moving Ingram’s body. In response, GJPD Chief Camper told Channels 8 and 11 news that accusations about officers moving the body were false and based on rumor.
Another eyewitness, a guest who was staying at the Timbers motel at the time and who wishes to remain anonymous, heard police shouting at Ingram to "drop it" and then heard the gunshots. At this point, the witness went outside of his/her room and witnessed officers dragging Ingram’s body to the doorway of the motel room. The witness reported that he/she told investigators the same thing.
So who’s lying? Chief Camper or Nancy Ingram and other eyewitnesses?
A letter, dated March 23rd, from Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger to Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper, cleared officers of any wrong-doing and found that lethal force was justified. In the letter, Hautzinger says that Ingram was charging officers with a knife and therefore lethal force was justified. Hautzinger uses the location of Ingram’s body in the doorway of the motel room, as evidence that he was charging the officers. “Mr. Ingram fell face down in the entryway, winding up exactly where Officer Kwiatkowski had been standing.” Earlier in the letter, Hautzinger placed Officer Kwiatkowski “ near the door of the room while Officer Gallegos entered, went in between the beds and began to check under the beds.”
Mesa County Deputy Coroner and forensic pathologist, Dr. Robert Kurtzman, performed the autopsy on Ingram, and told the Daily Sentinel in an article from March 24th, that “A dying Brent Ingram was dragged by police or medical personnel to the doorway of a North Avenue motel room in an effort to provide easier access for emergency responders.” “Until they know he’s dead, they have to make every effort to preserve his life,” Kurtzman told the Sentinel. Kurtzman also told the Sentinel that “events surrounding the treatment of Ingram’s body were explained to him by law enforcement.” and went on to say that “The most important thing for me is: are the patterns of injuries consistent with the reported circumstances, and they are in this case.”
Kurtzman is getting us closer to the truth, but even his statements are a little inconsistent and certainly don’t match Hautzinger’s conclusions on where the body lay at the time of the shooting. The idea that officers dragged the body to “provide easier access” for first responders or in an “effort to preserve his life,” is hard to belive. First off, it's far easier for first responders to get a person onto a gurney in the middle of a room rather then the middle of a doorway. Secondly, if someone is seriously injured as Ingram was, with a bullet in his spine, the last thing that anyone should do is move that person.
So who’s lying? Camper? Hautzinger? Nancy Ingram and other eyewitnesses? Kurtzman? We as a community need to know, but unfortunately we are unlikely to ever get real answers.