Federal Judge: Monetary Sanctions "Not Appropriate" for Widow Accused of Inciting Violence

The widow of Luis Rodriguez, a man who died following a scuffle with police outside the Moore Warren Theatre, says that, finally, something has gone her way in her case against Moore police, the City of Moore, and the Warren Theatre.

Nair Rodriguez, 51, of Norman, has sued the Moore Police Department and other entities following the death of her husband on Valentine's Day 2014. She claims that police used unnecessary force and caused the death of her husband. Police were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, and the medical examiner ruled Luis Rodriguez's death the result of a heart condition exacerbated by the altercation with police.

Following a recent deposition from which Nair Rodriguez was excluded, she took to Facebook to vent her frustration, calling the police "pigs" and begging for help in obtaining justice for her husband's death. The video clearly shows the location of the lawyer's office where the officer's deposition was held as Rodriguez accused the police of killing her husband and cried for justice.

The defendants in the civil case said that Rodriguez, in showing the location of the lawyer's office, calling police pigs and killers, and asking for "justice," was attempting to incite violence against the officer whose deposition was taken inside the office. They asked a judge for file monetary sanctions against the woman in the amount of roughly $4,000 to cover legal fees, and travel and lodging costs for a former Moore police officer who now lives out of state.

The plaintiff says that since her husband's death, she has been unable to find steady work, living with relatives and subsisting on food stamps. She says that even if a judge imposed monetary sanctions on her, "I have nothing."

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy DeGiusti issued a six-page ruling siding with the widow, saying he found no evidence in the 18-minute video of inciting violence. He called monetary sanctions against the woman "inappropriate."

However, he did clarify an order that Nair Rodriguez, whose behavior at depositions has been called "disruptive," must stay away from the depositions of police officers and security guards involved in the incident leading to her husband's death. 

Image credit: Joe Gratz

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