Off-Duty Cop Who Fired 5 Shots – Wounding Unarmed Woman and Her 8 Year Old Son – Should Be Jailed for Attempted Murder

by on March 27, 2008 · 25 comments

in Civil Rights

Wounding Rachel Silva & Son, Officer Frank White Is Still Free – Which Shows That There Is a Two-Tiered Justice System: One for Cops and the Other for the Rest of Us

By Joe Frustrated.

SAN DIEGO, CA. Today, Rachel Silva told her side of the story. With Gene Iredale, her lawyer, by her side, Ms. Silva explained that she has no memory of what happened on March 15th before she ended up in Oceanside parking lot with Officer Frank White. But apparently, after some kind of traffic altercation, she did. An off-duty San Diego Police Officer, White, fired five rounds into her car, with her and her 8 year old son sitting in the front. The shots came through the window, wounding her in her right arm, and wounding her son in his left thigh. She was unarmed. Silva underwent surgery on her arm and wears a sling, unable to raise her arm high.

Officer White has been suspended with pay. Yet, Silva’s attorney, Iredale stated that Officer White was in some kind of “crazy rage,” when he fired his gun. Anyone else, explained Mr. Iredale, if they had shot a gun 5 times at an unarmed woman and a small child, would be telling their side of the story from jail. Anyone else would have been charged with attempted murder.

But Officer White, who has not made a public statement on the matter, is free. During an investigation by the Oceanside police, White showed up for his interview with his attorney, a police department counselor, his supervisor and the Police Chief was given a special, private briefing. Police forced the young boy, still in his hospital bed, to give an interview to police without his parents’ consent.

Ms. Silva had a toxicology test done on her that night, but Officer White was not given any test. Ms. Silva, admittedly has had a substance abuse problem, had a couple DUIs and was driving on a suspended license the night of the incident.

Lawyer Fears for Lack of Fair Investigation

Iredale said he feared that there would not be a fair-minded investigation. On behalf of his client, Iredale has filed a claim with the City of San Diego regarding Silva’s complaints. The Claim asserts that Ms. Silva’s Constitutional rights were violated, and that White was acting under the color of law when he used his police weapon. The following is taken verbatim from the claim:

This claim is made on behalf of Rachel Leann Silva. It seeks recompense for physical, psychological and economic damages, including hospital and medical costs. The claim is made necessary because Franklin White, a San Diego Police Officer, shot and attempted to kill Rachel Leann Silva and her son Johnny, age 8, in Oceanside, California on or about March 15, 2008.

This incident occurred in the parking lot of a shopping center at 155 Old Grove Road, in Oceanside, California. As a result of a traffic dispute, Ms. Silva and Officer Franklin White exchanged words. White became enraged and shot five times at the car driven by Ms. Silva. He shot her two times in the arm, with one of the bullets shattering the bone in her upper right arm. He shot at Johnny Silva, who was seated in the front passenger seat, with the shot striking Johnny in his leg. Ms. Silva was unarmed and represented no threat to White. White announced that he was a San Diego Police Officer during the incident and ordered Ms. Silva to turn off her engine at the place to which she had backed up her car in an effort to avoid being shot. Ms. Silva was calling 911 at the time and repeatedly said that she could not turn off the car because her arm was shattered. Ms. Silva lapsed in and out of consciousness over the next half-hour and was ultimately transported via helicopter to Sharpe Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for her wounds for several days.

In a statement in the Claim on how the City of San Diego and its employees were at fault, the claim states:

White’s supervisor, a “peer counselor” from the Police Department and a police attorney reportedly accompanied White to his post-shooting interview by the Oceanside Police Department. The presence and intervention of these Police Department personnel can plausibly be viewed as an attempt to influence the Oceanside Police Department and to protect White from responsibility for his dangerous actions.

The Claim also alleged that the City was responsible for failing to properly screen and hire, and failure to properly train, failure to supervise and discipline, and for giving “post-facto provision of material support to White.” “The provision of a weapon to Mr. White, coupled with a faulty and inadequate policy regarding off-duty conduct by police officers, resulted in harm to Ms. Silva.”

Bottom line: this officer Frank White is walking around, suspended, yes, but with pay. He should be jailed and charged with attempted murder. Every day that he is free signals to the rest of us: THERE IS A TWO TIERED LEGAL SYSTEM – ONE FOR THE COPS AND ONE FOR THE REST OF US.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

AnonArchist March 27, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Cop mentality! It doesn’t go away when they take off their uniform. Good job, there Officer White.


Dave Sparling March 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm

This is one of many cases where the police over react. This woman and her son are lucky to be alive. Had the officer killed them both, he would still be on paid leave. One thing for sure, be it local or federal, those in power operate with different rules than the common person. Remember the court system and judges are also part of the establishment, so chances are the cop will skate.


Molly March 27, 2008 at 6:34 pm

What if the boy had been killed? From the mom’s interview, the reason the kid wasn’t hit in the stomach was because his knee was up on the seat.


OB Joe March 27, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Clearly, the Oceanside PD and the DA’s office are sitting on charges against Officer White. Since the first hour of this incident, it has been presumed by the police that White is the victim and Silva the perpetrator (“perp” as police-types and prosecutors routinely describe their suspects). In fact, Rachel Silva and her 8 yr son are the VICTIMS, duh.
Call the press, call the DA’s office, call the OC PD! Sound off!


Richard Nadeau March 27, 2008 at 8:32 pm

What else is new. Just another example of curbside justice where the officer on the beat acts as judge , jury , and executioner


OB Joe March 27, 2008 at 8:38 pm

Once again, you’re right. Here in Ocean Beach, we remember Tony Tuminia gunned down by the cops, I think it was 1992. The cops came to his house on West Pt. Loma for some issue about his truck. He goes to the truck with them … and ends up dead. Supposedly he had grabbed the cops’ knumchucks. …And then there was Danny the homeless guy killed in 2003 or 2004 here in OB.


Dave Sparling March 27, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Good job shooting a kid, officer? Where and how did you crawl in to a liberal discussion area?


Dave Sparling March 27, 2008 at 10:21 pm

OK Anon I might not have picked up tongue in cheek if it was your intent. If so please accept my apology. It’s been a long night.


Molly March 27, 2008 at 10:39 pm

I’m sure he will, Dave.


Frank Gormlie March 28, 2008 at 9:52 am

3/28/08 – There is speculation in today’s Union Trib that Officer White fired his gun through his own door window, shattering it. This means he was inside his vehicle when he fired. His wife, was sitting next to him – who curiously has not given any public statement (she does have the marital confidentiality privilege not to testify against her spouse). It also means he was not being threatened by Ms. Silva.


Mark April 1, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Well this won’t make any of you happy, however a vehicle is considered a weapon. Several cases have been upheld when officers discharged their weapons on drivers of vehicles who were driving the vehicle at them.

If there is a “cover-up” or ‘quid pro quo’; this mouthpiece of hers is not helping. Inciting idiocy and fear-mongering — I thought the left was opposed to fear mongering, guess not — is doing nothing but dring hysteria and turning people against her.

Then again she is a two-time loser flagrantly violating the law, most likely she just wants to stay out of prison.


Elmo Jackson April 2, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Blue immunity ….?


Christina April 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm

It’s disgusting that this guy is not behind bars. The only possible way he could be exonerated is if she rammed his car causing serious damage to it. Maybe then he could argue that he feared for his life. However, I have a feeling that if that was the case, they already would have released pictures of his car to end all the speculation. It’s absolutely disgraceful.


eem April 3, 2008 at 11:18 pm

She has an extensive police record including 2 DUI charges and a child endangerment charge as well. I think that it’s very interesting that she has no memory of what happened before the shooting. We don’t know all the events that preceded the shooting so I think people should refrain from bashing the police officer. Every evening her lawyer has been on the news saying how innocent his client is and that in itself raises a red flag and personally shows self interest. Notice the police officer has made no comments to the media bashing the woman.


Patty April 3, 2008 at 11:39 pm

I’m sure the officer has been told to keep his mouth shut, especially if he wants to keep that pay check coming while he’s on leave. I would call that self interest.


Bill H April 4, 2008 at 2:43 pm

It will be interesting to see how the DA’s office will play this one — most likely another case of “rubber-stamping as with the Foley shooting. Another aspect I haven’t heard about is if the officers accomplice (wife) would also be charged as an accessory to the crime if found for the lady. . . Can you just imagine the “dinner table” conversations that go on at the White’s house between these fine public servants in regard to “those people” (non-police) — scarey!


flying by May 15, 2008 at 11:05 am

She used her car as a deadly weapon. REad the latest info on this. She was drunk, had marijuana in her system, almost collided with Ofc White- who swerved to avoid her. She tailgated him into a parking lot while yelling, stopped so close to his door he couldn’t exit his car, and continued yelling and revving her engine. He showed her a gun and backed away from her. She then put her car in reverse and backed up, striking his car. Sounds to me like she was the angry one and he tried to avoid the situation. All of this is reported by a witness. Yes, it’s sad a child was shot. It’s also sad a mother would put her son in this kind of danger. She should be in prison, and probably will be soon.


Boatman May 15, 2008 at 1:03 pm

She was yelling and drunk. He had a gun and he showed it to her.
She rubbed against his car as she moved her car.
No ramming involved.
He starts shooting because he was in fear for his life from the slight contact between the cars.

Why can’t she say she was in fear for her life because the man had a gun?
Why can he be in fear of her Honda and she can’t be in fear of his gun.

As it turned out she was the only one who can actually show that she was in mortal danger.

Remember… He never showed a badge, only a gun.


flying by May 15, 2008 at 4:33 pm


She backed into his car after essentially trapping him in his car, he showed her a gun and backed away from her. He doesn’t have to show a badge. She was revving her engine and backed into him AFTER he showed a gun. If she were in fear for her life, why follow him and hit his car with hers AFTER she knew he had a gun? She was drunk, on dope, had her kid in the car, and enraged. She was a serious danger to her kid AND everyone else. Ever heard of “fight or flight”. She knew he had a gun. She was going to fight or flee. She didn’t flee. She needs to be in prison.


OB Joe May 15, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Just happened to check, and lo and behold – there’s a whole new discussion happening!
flying by – why be so punitive? She was a single mom (Hubby in Iraq) trying to make do on her own.


flying by May 16, 2008 at 6:07 am

OB- you’re asking me about being punitive? Read the above article and comments again. Everyone was judging the officer based on incomplete information and very few facts. I partially agree with your comment about the boy being a victim, but Silva is far from being a victim.

Thanks to her husband for serving in Iraq, but that does not relieve her of being responsible for her actions. She got drunk, smoked marijuana and drove on a suspended license (with two priors on her record). She endangered her own child by doing the above. She almost caused an accident, then got upset with the driver of the vehicle she almost hit. She tailgated him into a parking lot, revving her engine and screaming. He showed her a gun and tried to back away. She then revved her engine and backed into him. Where do you place the responsibility?


flying by May 16, 2008 at 6:11 am

Correction to above, not everyone assumed Officer White was in the wrong, but most.


Boatman May 16, 2008 at 9:03 am

The police will not allow anyone to see White’s car. Why not?
Pictures of Silva’s car show very minor scratches. No evidence of ramming.

Officer White claims he was in fear for his life. I do not believe that just because he says that he was in fear that gives him the right to use deadly force.

His assertion of being in fear for his life must be proven and it must be reasonable.
From the light contact between the cars, I say he had no real reason to be in fear of death.

He had a gun. He could have fired if she actually did ram him. But the slight contact is no excuse for shooting a woman and child.
This was a parking lot, not a high speed highway.

Officer White says he was in fear that she would ram him with her car. That fear was based on what might happen.
A uniformed policeman might use that as an excuse. “She was getting ready to run me over”.
But a private citizen doesn’t have the right to kill someone because he is afraid of what someone might do.
If that were the case, Silva could have picked up her own gun and started shooting at White because she felt threatened by the gun he displayed.

The “fear for my life” situation allows a uniformed policeman to shoot to kill if he feels in danger.
A yelling woman who scratches the car of another citizen does not provide enough danger to deserve a death sentence.

I think Officer White was drawn into the road rage and that he forgot that he wasn’t in uniform.
He lost control and fired when his car was scratched.


Boatman May 16, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Flying By,
Your attitude makes me think that you are a policeman.
I don’t think the average person will agree that simply any perceived threat could be met with lethal force.

Officer White had no reason to fear that Silva or her son could cause his death by any quick and efficient means.
In other words, Silva could possibly have rammed his car but if she had done so it would be unlikely to cause serious injury or death before White could have stopped further attack with gunfire.

Officer White had no reason to believe that Silva was preparing any sort of attack.
Evidence of damage to her car and the police use of the word, “sideswiped” do not show any ramming or serious contact.

So was Officer White just supposed to sit there and wait for Silva to kill him and his wife?
No, I don’t think he would have to wait until she rammed his car several times leaving a burning wreck.
But I do think that he should have waited until some actual danger was presented.
As it is, his claims of fear of death are questionable.

The question seems to be, what is the threshold of threat that allows a private citizen the use of lethal force against another private citizen?

Would a parking lot fender bender allow the use of lethal force because “the driver might back up and hit my car again”?

Why would White’s wife not make a statement?
Yes, I understand that she does not have to testify against him.
But if she could speak in his favor why would she not do so?


Boatman May 21, 2008 at 5:27 am

The validity of Officer White’s claim that he was in fear for his life should be decided by a jury, not by an internal affairs secret investigation.


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