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Attorney issues apology to Capitol Police officer wrongfully named in lawsuit

The legal representation for the woman claiming she was shot in the head during a traffic stop in Jackson has issued an apology to Capitol Police Officer Michael Maldonado.

Attorney Carlos Moore held a press conference on Wednesday after filing a lawsuit against Maldonado earlier in the week, with the suit stating that the officer began shooting at 30-year-old Sinatra Rakim Jordan and Sherita Harris.

According to legal documents, the incident began when Maldonado attempted to pull Jordan over at the intersection of State and Amite Street in mid-August of 2022. The officer then allegedly began shooting at the vehicle, leading Jordan to attempt to drive away to “escape the constant firing of bullets.”

Jordan was later charged with two counts of aggravated assault for shooting at the officers, as well as one count of felony fleeing for failing to comply with the officers’ orders to pull over.

A passenger in the vehicle, Sherita Harris, received a gunshot wound to the head during the incident, with the suit claiming that she had to undergo surgery to remove the bullet fragments as a result.

Since then, Moore has clarified that Maldonado was not present at the time of the incident, but instead Capitol Police officers Michael Rhinewalt and Jeffrey Walker.

“We apologize to Capt. Maldonado for getting him confused with Michael Rhinewalt,” Moore stated. “Michael Rhinewalt, ladies and gentlemen, is the person that my investigation reveals shot this lady in the head.”

Moore continued, arguing that the officers involved should not have discharged their weapons in the first place due to a no-pursuit policy made by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

“I have reviewed the policy and they have a no-pursuit policy, or a no-pursuit policy was in existence at the time this incident happened,” Moore explained. “Had they followed their own policy, my client would not have almost lost her life being shot in the head. She did nothing wrong and almost lost her life.”

Harris has since said that she still experiences “severe complications with her speech, gait, and overall cognizant abilities” despite spending several days in the hospital, leading her to request $3 million in damages for the officers’ alleged actions during the incident.

“She still has deficits, memory problems, depression, anxiety. She is forever changed because of the actions of Officer Rhinewalt and Walker of the Mississippi Capitol Police Department,” Moore added.

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