It’s hard enough to tell if a cop is going to rob, injure or kill you these days when they are in uniform, but when they’re dressed in hoodies and approaching people in the dead of night it becomes impossible. On July 30, local media reported that a man was shot by an undercover deputy in suburban Lake Worth and critically injured, nearly dying at the hospital.
The incident happened over an alleged drug deal that quickly turned to chaos before John Valderrama was shot in the leg in “self-defense,” according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s report. However, two sources inside the sheriff’s office have provided information to Jose Lambiet that suggests the three unarmed civilians were victims of poor police logic and excessive force. It seems that Valderrama was shot for trying to help someone whom he thought was being attacked.
Below is the original news report, in which it was immediately assumed that these cops were attacked for doing their jobs. However, as you will read below, that is not the case.
None of the three—John Valderrama, Richard Roll and Regina Betts—have been charged with a crime, and it is unlikely this will happen, according to the sources. The undercover deputies were identified as John Bango and Tom Kabis, who have a history of screwing up. In 2007, they arrested the wrong guy for alleged drug dealing, who wrongfully served eight months before being released.
According to the inside sources, Bango and Kabis, dressed in plainclothes, were going through trash in front of a suspected drug den at around 5:00 am on July 30. Consumed with their mission in the War on Drugs, they believed they spotted two people doing a drug deal.
So, in the darkness and wearing hoodies, they decided to confront the evildoers. That’s when Betts got scared and began screaming that they were getting robbed. Valderrama heard the commotion and came outside to help, thinking that Betts was being attacked.
He fought off the suspected attackers with a backpack, putting himself in danger to help another human. One of the deputies could not retreat anymore, so he pulled out his gun and shot Valderrama.
At some point during this chaos, the deputies began saying that they were law enforcement, but no one believed them. And rightly so. Robbers have been known to pose as police officers, and given the deputies’ dress and shady tactics, no one can be blamed for being skeptical.
Betts even found a uniformed officer in a police car and told him they were being robbed by hoodlums posing as cops.
The sheriff’s office is not commenting after the release of this information, but Sheriff Rick Bradshaw has not yet called the use of force “justified.” An investigation is ongoing.
This unfortunate case is another example of innocent people needlessly getting hurt over the War on Drugs, which criminalizes people for ingesting substances, while bringing power and wealth to the state. If government would not be focused on telling people what they can and cannot do with their own bodies, Valderrama would not have been critically injured. He was lucky not to join the countless others who have lost their lives over this senseless crusade.