Книга EchoPark. Страница 65
“You know, you should have gone up top,” she said.
“What are you talking about?”
“Out there with the ladder. If you had been up top instead of me none of this would’ve happened. Because you wouldn’t have hesitated, Harry. You would’ve blown his shit away.”
Bosch shook his head.
“Nobody knows how they’re going to react in a situation until they’re in that situation.”
“Look, go to sleep, Kiz. Get better and then make your decision. If you don’t come back I will understand. But I’m always going to be your backup, Kiz. No matter what happens and where you go.”
She used her left hand to wipe her face.
She closed her eyes and he watched as she finally gave it up. She mumbled something he couldn’t understand and then was asleep. Bosch watched her for a while and thought about not having her as a partner anymore. They had worked well together, like family. He would miss it.
He didn’t want to think about the future right now. He opened the murder book and decided to start reading about the past. He started from page one, the initial crime report.
A few minutes later he had it covered and was about to turn to the witness reports when his phone began vibrating in his pocket. He walked out of the room to answer the call in the hallway. It was Lieutenant Randolph from the Officer Involved Shooting Unit.
“Sorry we’re holding you off active while we take our time with this thing,” he said.
“It’s all right. I know why.”
“Yeah, a lot of pressure.”
“What can I do for you, Lieutenant?”
“I was hoping maybe you’d take a ride down here to Parker Center and look at this videotape we’ve got.”
“You have the tape from O’Shea’s cameraman?”
There was a pause before Randolph answered.
“We have a tape from him, yes. I’m not sure it’s a complete tape and that’s what I want you to look at. You know, tell us what might be missing. Can you come down?”
“I’ll be there in forty-five minutes.”
“Good. I’ll be waiting. How’s your partner?”
Bosch wondered if Randolph knew where he was.
“She’s still hanging in. I’m at the hospital now but she’s still out of it.”
He hoped to delay Rider’s OIS interview as long as possible. In a few days, once she was off the painkillers and clear of mind, maybe she’d think better of volunteering that she had frozen when Waits made his move.
“We’re waiting to hear when we can interview her,” Randolph said.
“Probably be a few days, I would think.”
“Probably. Anyway, see you soon. Thanks for coming down.”
Bosch closed the phone and went back into the room. He picked the murder book up off the chair where he had left it and checked on his partner. She was asleep. He quietly left the room.
He made good time on the drive in and called Rachel to tell her that lunch looked good, since he was already going to be downtown. They agreed to go fancy and she said she would make a reservation at the Water Grill for noon. He said he would see her there.
The OIS squad was on the third floor at Parker Center. It was at the opposite end of the building from the Robbery-Homicide Division. Randolph had a private office with video equipment set up on a stand. He was sitting behind the desk, while Osani was working with the equipment and getting ready to play the tape. Randolph motioned Bosch to the only other seat.
“When did you get the tape?” Bosch asked.
“It was delivered this morning. Corvin said it took him twenty-four hours to remember he had put it in one of those cargo pockets you mentioned. This, of course, came after I had reminded him I had a witness who saw the tape go in the pocket.”
“And you think it’s been doctored?”
“We’ll know for sure after I give it to SID but, yeah, it’s been edited. We found his camera at the crime scene, and Osani here was bright enough to write down the number on the counter. When you roll this tape the counter on the tape doesn’t match. About two minutes of tape are missing. Why don’t you roll it, Reggie.”
Osani started the tape and Bosch watched as it began with the huddle of investigators and techs in the Sunset Ranch parking lot. Corvin had stayed close to O’Shea at all times and there was an uninterrupted flow of raw video footage which seemed to always keep the candidate for district attorney at center. This continued as the group followed Waits into the woods and until they all stopped at the top of the steep drop-off. Then it was clear there was a cut where it was to be presumed that Corvin had turned the camera off and then back on again. There was no discussion on the tape of whether the handcuffs should be removed from Waits’s wrists. The video cut from Kiz Rider saying they could use the SID ladder to Cafarelli returning to the spot with the ladder.
Osani stopped the tape so they could discuss it.
“It’s likely that he did stop the camera while we were waiting for the ladder,” Bosch said. “That probably took ten minutes max. But he probably didn’t stop it until after the back and forth about the cuffs on Waits.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, I’m just assuming. But I wasn’t watching Corvin. I was watching Waits.”
“Don’t be. I don’t want you to give me anything that wasn’t there.”
“Did any of the other witnesses back me on this? Did they say they heard the discussion about uncuffing him?”
“Cafarelli, the SID tech, heard it. Corvin said he didn’t and O’Shea said it never happened. So you got two from the LAPD saying yes and two from the DA’s office saying no. And no tape to back it up either way. Classic pissing match.”
“What about Maury Swann?”
“He’d be the tiebreaker except he’s not talking to us. Says it is in his client’s best interest to remain mute.”
That didn’t surprise Bosch, coming from a defense lawyer.
“Is there another edit you wanted to show me?”
“Possibly. Go ahead, Reggie.”
Osani started the video again and it took them through the descent on the ladder and then to the clearing where Cafarelli methodically used the probe to mark the location of the body. The shot was uninterrupted. Corvin simply turned the camera on and shot everything, probably with the idea that he would edit it later if the tape was ever needed in a court hearing. Or possibly a campaign documentary.
The tape continued and documented the group’s return to the ladder. Rider and Olivas went up to the top and Waits was uncuffed by Bosch. But as the prisoner started his climb up the ladder, the tape cut off just as he reached the upper rungs and Olivas was leaning down to grab him.
“That’s it?” Bosch asked.
“That’s it,” Randolph said.
“I remember after the shooting, when I told Corvin to leave the camera and come up the ladder to help with Kiz, he had it on his shoulder. He was rolling.”
“Yeah, well, we asked about why the tape ended and he claimed that he thought he was going to run short on tape. He wanted to keep some for when the diggers came in and excavated the body. So he turned the camera off when Waits was going up the ladder.”
“That make sense to you?”
“I don’t know. You?”
“Nope. I think that’s bullshit. He had the whole thing on tape.”
“That’s just an opinion.”
“Whatever,” Bosch said. “The question is, why cut the tape at this point? What was on it?”
“You tell me. You were there.”
“I told you everything I could remember.”
“Well, you better remember more. You’re not in such good shape here.”
“What are you talking about?”
“There’s no discussion on the tape of whether the man should or shouldn’t be cuffed. What is on the tape is Olivas uncuffing him for the climb down and you uncuffing him for the climb back up.”
Bosch realized that Randolph was right and that the tape made him look like he had uncuffed Waits without even discussing it with the others.
“O’Shea’s setting me up.”
“I don’t know if anyone is setting anyone up. Let me ask you something. When the shit hit the fan out there and Waits grabbed the gun and started shooting, do you remember seeing O’Shea at that point?”
Bosch shook his head.
“I ended up on the ground with Olivas on top of me. I was worried about where Waits was, not O’Shea. I don’t know where O’Shea was. All I can tell you is that he wasn’t in my picture. He was behind me somewhere.”
“Maybe that’s what Corvin had on the tape. O’Shea running away like a coward.”
Randolph’s use of the word coward sparked something in Bosch.
He now remembered. From on top of the embankment Waits had called someone, presumably O’Shea, a coward. Bosch remembered hearing the sound of running behind him. O’Shea had run.
Bosch thought about this. First of all, O’Shea had no weapon with which to protect himself from the man he was going to put in prison for life. By all rights, running from the gun would not be unexpected or unreasonable. It would have been an act of self-preservation, not cowardice. But since O’Shea was a candidate for top prosecutor in the county, running away under any circumstances would probably not look so good-especially if it was on video on the six o’clock news.
“I remember now,” Bosch said. “Waits called somebody a coward for running. It must’ve been O’Shea.”
“Mystery solved,” Randolph said.
Bosch turned back to the monitor.
“Can we back it up and look at that last part again?” he asked. “Just before it cuts off, I mean.”
Osani worked the video and they watched it silently from the moment Waits was uncuffed for the second time.
“Can you stop it right before the cut?” Bosch asked.
Osani froze the image on the screen. It showed Waits past the halfway point on the ladder and Olivas reaching down to grab him. The angle of Olivas’s body had caused his windbreaker to fall open. Bosch could see his pistol in a pancake holster on his left hip, grips out so that he could take the gun with an across-the-body pull.
Bosch stood up and walked to the monitor. He took out a pen and tapped it on the screen.
“You notice that?” he said. “It looks like he’s got the snap on his holster open.”
Randolph and Osani studied the screen. The safety snap was something they obviously hadn’t noticed before.
“Could’ve been that he wanted to be ready if the prisoner made a move,” Osani said. “It’s within regs.”
Neither Bosch nor Randolph responded. Whether it fell within department regulations or not, it was a curiosity that could not be explained, since Olivas was dead.