Cop Who Killed Teenager While Driving Twice Speed Limit Gets Acquitted

CC BY 4.0. Tony Webster on Wikipedia

Back in May we covered the pretty shocking story of the death of Carla Abogado, thrown over 250 feet after being hit by Constable Remo Romano driving his F150 without lights or siren at 71 MPH in a 37 MPH zone. At his trial, his defence lawyer blamed the victim for jaywalking:

In his closing submissions, MacKenzie told the jury “the defence position is that Ms. Abogado made a fateful decision to cross St. Clair at the time and location that she did . . . She chose not to walk to the controlled intersection 75 metres [250 feet] west, but rather chose to cross where she did.”

That trial ended in a deadlocked jury and a mistrial and a new trial has acquitted the constable. Michele Mandel covered the trial for the Sun and describes his testimony:

He was an alert driver, doing his job, driving safely, Romano insisted as many of his police colleagues filled the courtroom seats.

“And you did nothing wrong?” asked Crown attorney Philip Perlmutter.

“No, sir,” Romano replied.

“The only one who did anything wrong was Carla Abogado by jaywalking in front of your vehicle?” demanded the prosecutor.

“It’s a tragic accident, sir,” the officer said softly. “She made the choice to step out in front of my vehicle.”

But court has heard that if he’d been travelling at even 80 km/h, there would have been time to avoid Abogado. At 115 km/h, she didn’t stand a chance.

In the Star, Romano’s lawyer said that his client was a cop doing his job (which in this case, was doing an investigation into non-violent perfume thieves) and asked “At what speed does he go from being a police officer serving his community to a convicted criminal?”

Crown prosecutor Philip Perlmutter thought this was ridiculous.

Perlmutter told the jury, the surveillance operation Romano was involved in that night was focused only on intelligence-gathering and was neither dangerous nor urgent.

“(He was) not entitled to drive at those speeds, to put himself in position where he did not have the time and space to respond to a jaywalker,” Perlmutter said. “This did not justify the risk to the public.”

But of course he was acquitted; police driving twice the speed limit, even outside of their jurisdiction chasing perfume thieves, usually do, and after all, they say Carla was definitely wearing black and probably wearing headphones. And as the commenter says: “if someone jay walks and gets run over, they asked for it.”