Monday, October 2, 2023

This police officer handcuffed a Hispanic woman and left her in a patrol car that was hit by a train. But he won’t go to prison

The reckless act of Jordan Steinke, the former officer from Fort Lupton, Colorado, caused serious injuries to 21-year-old Yareni Ríos González, who had recently been arrested and handcuffed for a traffic robbery.

In September 2022, Ríos was arrested by Steinke and Platteville Police Sergeant Pablo Vázquez after the young woman was accused of pointing a gun at another driver.

When he was ordered to stop, Ríos parked his vehicle on the side of the road and Vázquez stopped his patrol car behind the then-suspect’s car, right on the train tracks.

Ríos was arrested and handcuffed by Steinke, who locked her in the back seat of Vázquez’s patrol car while officers searched the inmate’s vehicle looking for the weapon.

But during the search, a freight train collided directly with the patrol car in which the officer had placed the arrested man, and he was unable to get out of the vehicle.

According to her lawyers, Ríos survived the accident but suffered a brain injury, several broken ribs and other injuries that left her in constant pain.

The judge wanted to impose a prison sentence on the defendant

After Steinke was found guilty of reckless endangerment and assault, he was fired from the Fort Lupton Police Department. She was acquitted on the third count of attempted murder.

Weld County District Court Judge Timothy Kerns said he was initially inclined to impose a prison sentence on the defendant, but attorneys for both the prosecution and defense had asked for a suspended sentence.

However, Kerns ordered Steinke to perform 100 hours of community service and warned him that if he violated the terms of his probation, “I will remember my original gut reaction about how to approach the punishment.”

Steinke tearfully apologized to Yareni Ríos-González, who attended the hearing virtually. “What happened that night haunted me for 364 days,” Steinke said. “I remember your screams and your screams.”

Steinke said he hopes to fulfill part of his community service by giving educational lectures to new police officers about the dangers of railroad tracks and the importance of officers being aware of their surroundings.

According to his lawyer, Mallory Revel, Steinke is expected to lose his certification as a peace officer, was quoted by the Guardian, meaning he will never be able to become a police officer again.

Vázquez, for his part, is convicted of five counts of reckless endangerment for endangering Ríos, Steinke and three other people, obstructing the passage of vehicles and parking in a prohibited place. However, there were no charges of assault or attempted murder against him.

Vázquez’s trial has not yet taken place and his next court date is expected to take place in December 2023.

Ríos also sued the Fort Lupton and Platteville police departments, to which Steinke and Vazquez were assigned, respectively.

‘She experienced a desperate moment’: mother of young Hispanic woman hit by train while in police custody

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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