On Tuesday evening, a humorous satire video was posted to the Instagram account belonging to Los Angeles police officer, Edgar Verduzco.
According to KTLA, “the video features an animated avatar, wearing a Dodgers shirt, atop a bar counter. The cartoon character sits in a red car, honking the horn, with a message written underneath: “#dontdrinkanddrive.”
A few hours later, another video was posted to Verduzco’s Instagram, apparently at the same location, of a group of people playing a game of Jenga.
A few hours later, at 10:15, a Camaro allegedly belonging to Verduzco (also a boastful fixture of his Instagram account) was driving at a high rate of speed on the 605 Freeway near the suburb of Whittier, east of Los Angeles, when it rear-ended 2 cars, killing all 3 occupants of one. Killed were Maribel and Mario Davila, and their teenaged son, Oscar, who all perished in the resulting fire.
In a tired script that defies the tritest of cliches, 3 lives ended and a 4th ruined. Verduzco was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter.
The Los Angeles police officer who had been arrested following a deadly crash in which alcohol possibly played a role was released from custody on Thursday, according to inmate records.
Edgar Verduzco, 26, left Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles around 5:10 p.m. due to insufficient grounds to file charges, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department inmate database shows.
Earlier in the day, Officer Al Perez with the California Highway Patrol — which is investigating the incident — told KTLA the agency had not yet submitted a formal complaint to the District Attorney’s office and did not expect to before the 48-hour deadline for holding prisoners without a warrant.
Will the historic leniency police receive in such matters play out in this case? That remains to be seen. Verduzco is technically innocent and it is up to the District Attorney to investigate the case and bring appropriate charges based on the office’s findings. The eternally cynical part of me expects Verduzco will get off with a slap on the wrists while the Davila family is torn to shreds. Justice, LAPD-style. Nevertheless, I doubt Verduzco will ever drive an LAPD patrol car again and his badge will most likely become a hollow bedside adornment. And a man who might have had it all will have nothing but bloody hands and a murky future.