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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, and part five here. In this latest installment, we find a very curious detail—-one that complicates Haskel’s decision to go out looking for his mini bike.
On September 17, 2007, Haskel didn’t just leave a wife and young child behind to go looking for his mini bike. He left a fellow D.C. cop.
Haskel wasn’t home when his mini bike was stolen from his garage. Neighbors noticed the theft and did the responsible thing—-they called the police. By the time Haskel came home, there was a police officer waiting for him. The cop told him that other cops—from the 7th District—would be responding to his home.
Haskel did not wait for his fellow D.C. Police officers to arrive. Nor did he bother notifying them that he was going to go out on his own and search for his missing mini bike. Here is Haskel’s related deposition testimony with Rawlings’ family attorney Gregory Lattimer:
Haskel: The neighbors were all out. There was an officer there.…The neighbors called about the burglary and 7D dispatched it. He heard the run dispatch and he responded…
Lattimer: You didn’t take down his name?
Haskel: Didn’t feel the need to.
Lattimer: I thought he was investigating the burglary?
Haskel: I said he responded.
Lattimer: OK, so what was he just doing, just standing around?
Haskel: Yes, basically when I got there, he was sitting in his cruiser.
Lattimer: So he just came there and just sit and looked around?
Haskel: If you want to know exactly what he done, you may have to get him here and ask him some questions…
Lattimer: So when you got there, did you have any communication with 7D?
Haskel: He told me that 7D had the call and would respond and was coming out to the call.
Lattimer: So he told you that 7D was coming out to the call.
Lattimer: Did you wait for them to get there?