State A.G.’s Office Goes After Rachel Silva, Woman Wounded by Off-duty Officer

by on June 9, 2008 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights, San Diego

Silva & son are wounded by White, an off-duty police officer; she’s charged with felony child endangerment and a host of misdemeanors; Officer White continues to walk

OCEANSIDE – It was bound to happen. The way it was all set up. The State’s Attorney General took over the prosecution of Rachel Silva, the woman who was wounded by off-duty San Diego police officer Frank White in an apparent Oceanside road rage incident back on March 15 of this year. She was wounded twice and her son once as it seems she attempted to back up her car after seeing White’s pistol being waved at her.

Rachel SilvaDistrict Attorney Bonnnie Dumanis is still investigating the nearly 3-month old incident and has yet to charge the officer with anything. White, who was on paid administrative leave, is now at a desk. But the Attorney General’s Office has charged Silva with felony child endangerment and several misdemeanors – two drunken-driving charges, possession of marijuana, driving on a suspended license and driving on a license suspended for a previous DUI conviction.

Silva has been described by a state agent as the aggressor, the person who began the road rage and who threatened White and his wife with her car. Former D.A., Paul Pfingst, said this description of Silva as an aggressive driver who put the officer in fear makes it “virtually impossible for the district attorney to find that the officer had no reasonable cause to fire at Silva’s car . . . Skeptics will claim that this is what the district attorney wanted all along.” You said it, Paul.

The A.G.’s Office has declared that new information about the case – a witness statement, the 911 calls, give them a case to prosecute. An arrest warrant was released Monday, June 9, from their office. As part of the paperwork surrounding the warrant, there is a state agent declaration, who wrote that Silva’s “driving and actions willfully put her son” in “circumstances likely to produce great bodily injury or death.”.

Here is SignOnSanDiego’s version of the story as told by Stephen Duncan, a special agent with the state Department of Justice:

White and his wife were driving south on Old Grove Road in their Mercury Milan. A woman in front of them said she noticed Silva’s Honda Accord “rolling” out of a nearby Shell gas station, making “no attempt to stop.”

In her rearview mirror, the woman said, she saw White’s car “swerve abruptly” into another lane to avoid hitting Silva’s Honda.

White turned right into a Lowe’s shopping center, and Silva quickly crossed three traffic lanes and followed him, tailgating his car. White told his wife, who is a dispatcher for Carlsbad police, to call 911, “which frightened her because he had never asked her to do so before.”

White said he couldn’t see the driver of the Honda, but thought the person had long hair and a light complexion. Silva’s car had dark-tinted rear windows, and a lighter tint on the front side windows.

In the parking lot, Silva drove in front of White’s car, blocking its path, the female witness said. Silva then drove in reverse, in back of White’s Mercury, and pulled forward next to it, so close White said he couldn’t open his door.

White drew his .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, pointed it at Silva, and said, “Police, you need to stop! Police, stop!”.

White then backed up and stopped, planning to get out and read the Accord’s license number. At about the same time, Silva called 911. “There’s a guy who’s pointing a gun at me,” she told the dispatcher. As White began to open his door, Silva started driving in reverse, at an angle. As the two cars passed each other, their side view mirrors made contact, and the right front side of Silva’s Accord then hit the left rear of White’s car.

White opened fire as the cars passed each other, his first round shattering his closed window and passing through Silva’s passenger window, apparently striking Silva’s son. White then fired four more rounds through Silva’s windshield, hitting her twice.

Several gunshots can be heard on a recording of Silva’s 911 call.

“I’ve been shot at,” she tells the dispatcher after the shots are over. The dispatcher asks who had fired at her. “Some guy, a policeman,” Silva responds.

Silva, a single mom -she’s divorced from the boy’s father, a Marine who returned from Iraq in March after the incident – is so lucky. First, a lawsuit has been filed in federal court on her son’s behalf against White, the City of San Diego, the SD Police Department and the police chief.

And second, after reviewing 2500 pages of documents on the case, the AG’s Office concluded that “the circumstances surrounding Rachel Silva’s car striking Officer Frank White’s car were insufficient for the filing of a charge of assault with a deadly weapon or any other assault charge against Rachel Silva.” She is sooooo lucky – she could have been charged with ADW on a police officer.

We should get to know Gary Schons, the senior assistant attorney general in San Diego. While we’re waiting for Carol Lam’s replacement, he’s in charge down here. He believes a crime occurred and that he can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that she is guilty of the charges. He took over the case in April. He is so lucky: Oceanside police said Silva’s blood-alcohol level was 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit, and that she had marijuana in her system. She was driving on a suspended license because of two prior DUI convictions. Officer White, we remember, was never tested for anything. He was so lucky too.

We should get to know Gary Schons. He had a hand in the Blackwater case too.

[Go here for the original article.]

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar AnnoyedOBecian June 17, 2009 at 11:25 am

Luck? No one is lucky in this case! Especially the 8-year-old kid who unfortunately has Silva as a mother. And the people getting screwed over are the uninvolved citizens whose tax dollars will now go towards expenses to perform a trial against an officer who, in my opinion, was very much in his place to use his firearm in defense of his safety. And for the attorney general’s office (who must be hungry for media attention) to pursue a case against a man who obviously was attempting to protect himself with his own deadly weapon against a drunk, stoned, irresponsible, irrational, multiple-DUI-offender behind the wheel, using her vehicle as a deadly weapon against him and his wife, while her young son was in the car is illogical and irrational, to say the least.

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avatar OB Joe June 17, 2009 at 11:50 am

AnnoyedOBecian – little one-sided don’t ya think? Let’s see, umm, who was actually injured in this incident? Oh, the boy. By whom? Oh, the cop with a gun. Actually the cop had two deadly weapons, his gun and his car. Sure, Silva made mistakes, used poor judgment, but gee, since when is it okay for anyone to fire a gun into the unknown? “We didn’t see the boy,” isn’t a valid excuse. C’mon Annoyed, since when do we OBceans take the side of the cops just like that?

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avatar birdy June 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm

actually, objoe, the “unknown” is exactly why the officer was justified in using his firearm. he had no idea why this crazy loon was following him, acting aggresive, and putting him and his wife’s in danger. for all he knew, it was 3 grown men in that car who had it out for him for arresting them before and meant to do him great harm.

once rachel VIOLATED white’s rights to be safe, she forefeited her own. what do you honestly think he should have done? nothing and prayed for the best that this person wasn’t trying to kill him? yeah, that works out great till you’re dead.

why is he to be held up to such high standards for not using, in yoru opinion, the appropraite force necessary for this situation? ar eyou kidding? do you think im going to try to determine whether a burglar is in my house just to steal my tv or rape and murder me before i shoot him? no! im not gonna wait to find out because by then it’s too late. in white’s case, in his mind, it was him or this crazy person in another car. how was white to determine how far this other person was gonna go? she already broke the law and did things normal people dont do!

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avatar birdy June 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm

and what is white’s wife? chop liver? she was in the car and was being threatened as well. is her life worth crap to you, objoe? is her life worth any less than the 8 year olds? would you have preferred that she was injured instead? for all officer white knew, rachel silva was going to do a drive by.

hey drunk drivers dont mean to kill people but they do and they are charged for those crimes. silva was drunk and high. if she wasnt stopped, she could have rammed into white severely injuring them both. white’s wife could have died from a head injury when she hit the windshield.. any number of things.

if silva was allowed to drive away in her state, this whole article might be about a family of 5 who are dead becaue she ran them over in the parking lot. the loon had to be stopped.

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avatar birdy June 22, 2009 at 5:03 pm

he wasnt only protecting himself, he was protecting his wife.

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