Bakersfield, CA -- In November of last year, 22-year-old Ramiro James Villegas was shot and killed by jumpy police in Bakersfield after allegedly “reaching for his waistband.” He was unarmed.
Villegas had just crashed his car after a high-speed chase when three officers opened fire and a fourth engaged a Taser.
“The cop got out and just shot him in the head like three times,” one witness, 23 year old Salvador Gonzalez, told the Bakersfield Californian.
Gonzalez explained that Villegas had gotten out of the car with his hands outward, but downward from his sides after the crash. He stated that Villegas appeared to be unarmed, which he was.
Other witnesses claim he had put his hands up, something the officers deny.
The department, of course, told a much different story. They claimed he had moved towards them aggressively and reached for his waistband.
After police had gunned down this unarmed man, they managed to make a horrible situation worse.
As Villegas' bullet-riddled body lay bleeding out on a hospital gurney, a BPD officer began a sickening and equally disturbing "manipulation" of their victim.
According to the New York Daily News,
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Bakersfield Police Officer Aaron Stringer allegedly pulled on the toes of Ramiro James Villegas' body in November, touched the bottom of Villegas' feet saying "tickle tickle," manipulated his head and told a trainee he "loved" playing with dead bodies, lawyer Mark Geragos told the Daily News.
"We are grossly disturbed by the ghoulish behavior of the police," Geragos told The News.
Stringer even went so far as to try and open the mount of this slain young man several times, according to KBAK.
The actions by this sicko police officer epitomize the detached and demented state of mind of some police officers. A young man's life was just ended and somehow this officer found humor in degrading his dead body.
While Stringer wasn't directly involved in the shooting of Villegas, he's no stranger to shooting people.
According to KBAK,
Stringer has been involved in other shootings - in 2009 during a convenience store robbery, and last year when a man was acting erratically at a gas station.
He was also arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of prescription medication and hit-and-run.
Other officers likely giggled at Stringer's sick shenanigans. Officer Stringer went completely unpunished. We're told that an "investigation" took place, but that Stringer's actions were deemed "legal."
Assistant District Attorney Scott Spielman said BPD requested charges against Stringer, but prosecutors declined, because Stringer didn't manipulate the scene of the OIS.
Not until Friday, when the Bakersfield Californian newspaper obtained internal police reports that detailed this gruesome display, was any action taken against Stringer.
What, you ask, was Stringer's punishment for fondling and mocking the body of a young man just gunned down by his peers? He's been given a paid vacation.
"How serious is this? Is this a joke to them? That our loved ones are dying? It's not a joke," said Tony Arambulo, Villegas' brother.