Criminal Justice

Police chief denies claimed remark that defense lawyer deserved to be shot, but says sorry anyway

The Durham, N.C., police chief says he doesn’t recall making a claimed remark about how a local lawyer, shot as an innocent bystander, deserved it because he sometimes represents indigent individuals as a public defender by court appointment.

However, Chief Jose Lopez apologized anyway, saying at a Friday news conference that ““I take full responsibility for anything I may have said that may have offended anyone or any group of people,” reports the Herald-Sun.

The claimed comment, cited in a recent federal employment discrimination complaint made by a member of the police department passed over for promotion, may possibly have been made by someone during a meeting in preparation for a news conference about a spate of recent shootings, Lopez said. And, if so, it was a mistake and doesn’t reflect the department’s thinking.

City officials, who had been investigating, now consider the matter closed.

Tom Bonfield, who serves as city manager, said “all the individuals who were at the meeting were asked what they recall. There was a variety of recollections about what was said. I can say that none of those recollections were thoroughly consistent with the allegation.”

See also: “Did Durham police chief say criminal defense lawyer deserved to be shot? City probes allegation”

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