Webb in damage-control mode

Webb in damage-control mode
Defense attacks expert's testimony
By Rod Leveque, Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO - Attorneys for the former sheriff's deputy on trial for shooting an unarmed man at the end of a car chase worked Tuesday to soften the testimony of a police-tactics expert who earlier told jurors the shooting appeared inappropriate and unprovoked.

The witness, Joe Callanan, had testified for prosecutors that the deputy, Ivory J. Webb Jr., abandoned proper procedures and appeared to be out of control when he shot and wounded an off-duty Air Force enlisted man in Chino on Jan. 29, 2006.

But during cross-examination Tuesday, Webb's lawyers portrayed Callanan as a Monday-morning quarterback of sorts, who - unlike Webb - had the luxuries of hindsight and unlimited time in forming his opinions.

"You didn't have two drunks trying to divert your attention, did you?" defense attorney William Hadden asked him.

"No," Callanan said.

"Didn't have to worry about anyone taking your gun?" Hadden asked.

"That's true," Callanan said.

Webb is on trial charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm in connection with the shooting of Elio Carrion, who was the passenger in a Corvette that led the deputy on a high-speed chase.

The chase ended when the driver, Luis Escobedo, crashed into a wall on Francis Street in Chino. A tape of the shooting made by a resident shows Webb shoot Carrion as Carrion appears to comply with Webb's orders to get up.

Webb's lawyers have argued the shooting was legally justifiable.

They say Carrion did not comply with the deputy's orders to shut up, reached a hand toward Webb's gun, and also reached a hand into his own jacket, as though going for a weapon.

Carrion and Escobedo were legally drunk at the time of the shooting.

Callanan is a retired Los Angeles County sheriff's lieutenant and an expert on police tactics pertaining to the use of deadly force.

Prosecutors called him to testify on Monday to render his opinions on whether Webb's actions were consistent with how other reasonable and objective police officers would have behaved in similar circumstances. He remained on the stand Tuesday as well.

Under the questioning of Deputy District Attorney Lewis Cope, Callanan gave a blistering critique of Webb's actions, slamming the former deputy for everything from his decision to give chase to his demeanor after the shooting.

"I would not see a reasonable officer or an experienced officer shoot under these conditions," he testified Tuesday before the start of his cross-examination.

Hadden barely began his questioning of Callanan before the trial was adjourned for the day.

However, he wasted little time in attacking Callanan's conclusions.

Callanan conceded that he has not personally been involved in a police pursuit or shooting since he retired in 1989.

He also admitted he formed his opinions in the comfort and safety of his office, while Webb had to make life-or-death decisions on a dark street and in the uncertainty and chaos following a high-speed car chase.

Cross-examination of Callanan will continue Thursday, when Webb's trial resumes in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Webb no longer works for the Sheriff's Department. He faces as much as 18 years in prison if convicted.

Carrion survived the shooting and has since returned to the Air Force.

Staff writer Rod Leveque can be reached by e-mail at r_leveque@dailybulletin.com, or by phone at (909) 483-9325.

Following the Webb case

Jan. 29, 2006: Air Force Senior Airman Elio Carrion is shot three times by a sheriff's deputy after a high-speed chase that ends on Francis Street in Chino. The incident is captured on videotape by a nearby resident. The driver, Luis Escobedo, is arrested and booked at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of felony evading. Carrion is hospitalized at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. The deputy, Ivory J. Webb Jr., is placed on paid administrative leave.

Jan. 31: Escobedo is released without being charged. The FBI launches an investigation into possible violations of Carrion's civil rights at the request of the U.S. Attorney's Office. The Sheriff's Department also requests the FBI's assistance to produce an enhanced copy of the videotape.

Feb. 3: Carrion's family demands the arrest of Webb. Carrion is released from Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

Feb. 10: The Sheriff's Department concludes its investigation into the officer-involved shooting and turns its reports over to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office.

March 5: The District Attorney's Office, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department interview Carrion.

March 7: District Attorney Michael A. Ramos charges Webb with attempted voluntary manslaughter and Escobedo with felony evading and driving while under the influence. Carrion returns home to his family, but continues outpatient physical therapy.

March 8: Webb and Escobedo are arraigned. Both plead not guilty.

July 12: Carrion's attorney files a claim against San Bernardino County asking for unspecified damages for violating his civil rights.

July 19: Carrion receives the commendation medal for his service in Iraq, at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Aug. 28: A judge orders Webb to stand trial for attempted voluntary manslaughter.

Sept. 11: At his arraignment, prosecutors add a second charge against Webb - claiming the former sheriff's deputy committed assault with a firearm.

Nov. 3: A trial date of Jan. 5 is set for Webb.

Dec. 27: Carrion files a lawsuit against the Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Gary Penrod and Webb.

April 30, 2007: Jury selection begins for Webb's trial in which 400 potential jurors were summoned.

May 29: Opening statements made in Webb's trial.

May 30: Escobedo testifies in the trial.

May 31: Recording of radio traffic from the night of the shooting played in court.

June 4: Carrion testifies that Webb ordered him to get up off the ground, and shot him when he tried to comply.

June 5: Carrion finishes testifying and Jose Luis Valdes takes the stand, saying that he started to tape the incident after he thought he saw Webb kick Carrion.

June 6: Valdes finishes his testimony and his wife, who also witnessed the incident, takes the stand.

Thursday: The first officers who reported to the scene testify Webb told them that Carrion lunged at him.

Monday: An expert in police tactics and training testifies Webb made critical mistakes and didn't follow proper procedures before the shooting.

Tuesday: Webb's attorney cross-examines the expert in police tactics, pointing out that he had the luxuries of hindsight and unlimited time in analyzing Webb's actions.

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