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Maybe you are sick of hearing about the DeOnte Rawlings case. The 14-year-old was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer on September 17, 2007. That’s a long time ago. By now, the off-duty cops have been cleared by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the D.C. Police Department. Law enforcement contends that Rawlings had fired on the officers—-James Haskel and Anthony Clay—-first and was riding Haskel’s stolen minibike. Officer Haskel only returned fire in self defense.
In this series, City Desk has set out to chronicle the case’s oddities and various headscratchers. You can read part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here, part five here, and part six here. Our latest installment focuses on deposition witness: James Haskel’s wife—-Corsondra L. Haskel.
Mrs. Haskel is important. Why? Because immediately after the shooting, Clay drove Haskel’s Tahoe back to her house. The first civilian he talked to was Corsondra L. Haskel.
Rawlings’ family attorney Gregory Lattimer deposed her on April 9, 2009. Haskel seemed very concerned about why Clay had left her husband behind. She also contradicts Clay’s testimony on a crucial point. Here is what she had to say about her interactions with Officer Clay:
Lattimer: What happened at that point when he brought the truck back?
Haskel: We talked.
Lattimer: We meaing—-
Haskel: Officer Clay and I.
Lattimer: OK. What did you all talk about?
Haskel: We talked about—-we talked about where he was or where my husband was.
Lattimer: All right. And what did you say and what did he say?
Haskel: He told me what happened.
Lattimer: What did he tell you?
Haskel: He told me what happened —- I don’t remember what —- I don’t remember his words as to what exactly he said.
Lattimer: OK. To the best of your recollection and as best as you remember, what did he tell you had happened?
Haskel: I don’t remember.
Lattimer: You don’t remember anything that he said?
Haskel: Can I take a break?
Lattimer: Well, there is a question pending right now. Once you answer the question, you can take a break….
Haskel: I asked him where was James, and he said that they saw the mini bike. And he told me about the fire exchange.
Lattimer: What did he say? Well, let me finish because you want to take a break. Let me let you finish your —- what you were saying before I started devling into questions.
Haskel: That’s what he said…
(Haskel gets to take a break).
Lattimer: You say he told you about the fire?
Haskel: Uh-hu, there was an exchange of fire.
Lattimer: And what did you think he meant by that?
Haskel: What did I think?
Haskel: Where was my husband if there was an exchange of fire?
Lattimer: Did he explaine to you how this gun — this shooting had occurred?
Haskel: Did he explain to me?
Haskel: Once they saw the bike, he said that they were shot at, and then there was gunfire. And I asked him, where is James? And he said around the corner. And I said, OK.
Lattimer: Did you say, is he all right?
Haskel: Yes, I said is he all right, and why did you leave him.
Lattimer: And what did he say when you asked if he was all right?
Haskel: He’s fine.
Lattimer: And then you said why did you leave him, what did he say?
Haskel: He said—-he said, he’s OK. That’s what he told me. He’s OK.
Lattimer: Did he tell you why he left?
Haskel: No. He didn’t tell me.
Lattimer: Did he tell you what happened to the young man on the bike?
Lattimer: So at that time what, if anything, did you do?
Haskel: I got on the phone and called my husband.
Lattimer: Did you reach him?
Haskel: No….And then I called him again.
Lattimer: Did you reach him that time?
Haskel: I spoke with him…
Lattimer: Did you ever tell Clay that a young man had been shot?
*Why is this important? Clay claimed in his deposition that Mrs. Haskel told him about the boy being shot.