A lawsuit was filed on Tuesday Nov. 13 in U.S. District Court on behalf of the survivors of Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. who was killed by a defendant that should have been under arrest for parole violations.
According to Michael F. Barrett, Esq. of the law firm of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, the state’s parole and probation system failed to place Walker’s accused killer, Rafael Jones, behind bars when he tested positive during a stipulated weekly drug test.
Barrett said the failure of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to follow a court ordered directive that Jones be arrested if he violated the terms of his probation was the direct cause of Walker’s death.
Named in the complaint are the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, its chairman Michael Potteiger, supervisors Rosa Hernandez and Michelle Rivera, and agent Juan Rodriguez.
“Officer Walker would not have lost his life if the chairman of the PBPP and his subordinates had done their jobs, including the direction of the court to not hesitate to have Jones jailed if he failed a drug test,” Barrett said.
He also said the federal complaint is the only remedy available to the Walker family to hold certain Pennsylvania agencies and officials legally accountable. He said their well-documented conduct was callous and reckless.
Court documents show that Jones had a long history of criminal conduct. It started in 2007, with an arrest and conviction when he was seventeen for carrying an illegal .38 caliber revolver.
He served four years, and went on to commit other criminal offenses. In a July 2012 probation hearing, the judge considered him a high-risk parolee and ordered that the conditions of his probation be strictly enforced. He was supposed to be under electronic monitoring, and had to show up negative for his weekly drug tests. Neither stipulation was met, Barrett said.
“The system failed Officer Walker, a valiant law enforcement officer - and we now turn to the federal courts for justice in his name,” Barrett said.
Officer Moses Walker was murdered during an attempted robbery just four blocks from the 22nd Police District Station House on August 18.