Mother of Laramie Man Killed by Deputy Now Seeking Reforms
Lawyers for Debra Hinkel say she has settled her lawsuit against former Deputy Derek Colling, former Sheriff Dave O’Malley, and Albany County for the wrongful death of her unarmed son, Robbie Ramirez, and is now seeking reforms.
Colling fatally shot Ramirez, 39, on Nov. 4, 2018, after pulling him over for allegedly failing to signal a turn in Laramie.
According to Hinkel's lawyer, Skip Jacobson, Ramirez was killed by two shots into his back while he lay helpless and non-threatening on the ground.
Jacobson in a press release Wednesday said that "Hinkel is satisfied that, in her opinion, and within the limits of our civil justice system, the defendants ... have been held to account for Robbie’s senseless wrongful death."
"While neither Ms. Hinkel, nor her lawyers from the Spence Law Firm, will have any comment on the details of the settlement, Ms. Hinkel believes that she accomplished what she set out to achieve which was to find out what happened and why," the press release reads.
Jacobson says Hinkel is now seeking reforms she believes are necessary to address the serious issues revealed in her lawsuit, which include the following:
- To make Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) mandatory so officers are trained to understand citizens in crisis (including the mentally ill) and afforded the tools to de-escalate foreseeable encounters.
- To require objective internal administrative investigations into officer-involved shootings, and whether there were violations of use of force law or policies so that lessons can be learned with the goal of preventing any future violations.
- Make sure that pathologists performing autopsies of police shooting victims are provided all reasonable and necessary information for an accurate assessment of the cause of death.
- Necessary reforms to assure the integrity and reasonable chain of custody of all body/dash cam videos after any officer-involved shooting.
- Remove the Wyoming Attorney General from its conflicts in both representing the offending officer and addressing that officer’s continued certification to be in law enforcement.
- Remove the DCI from investigating law enforcement agencies that they work hand in hand with on a regular basis.
Jacobson says Hinkel and her family plan on introducing 'Robbie’s House’, a clubhouse model designed to create a community for people that are living with mental illness in order to help them to experience the positive aspects of being part of a caring, accepting, and compassionate community that encourages them to be the best that they can be, and to also contribute to the well-being of others through friendship and communication.
Jacobson says Hinkel and her family want the public to know that they support funding the police, and that they respect and appreciate the professionalism of current Sheriff Aaron Appelhans in his efforts to clean house and right the ship.