On October 24, the Houston Police Department announced the results of its yearlong investigation into the shooting death of Brian Claunch, a mentally ill double amputee killed by an officer last September after refusing to drop a pen. HPD cleared the officer, Matthew Marin, of any wrongdoing.But it wasn't, at least according to the Houston PD. See the full story for more details.
That may not come as a surprise, since HPD hasn’t found a single police shooting unjustified in at least six years. Between 2007 and 2012, HPD officers fatally shot 109 people and injured another 111. All those shootings were found justified. (For the full story on HPD shootings and beatings, read the Observer investigation here.)
But some expected this case to be different. Claunch was wheelchair-bound and had one arm and one leg. He was definitely aggressive—officers were on the scene because Claunch was agitated, shouting threats and demanding soda and cigarettes—but he was also obviously disabled. HPD reports that Claunch backed an able-bodied officer into a corner and slashed at her with a shiny object, prompting her partner, Matthew Marin, to shoot him. But it’s difficult to visualize Claunch simultaneously moving effectively and posing a serious threat with one arm, even if he had been holding something more deadly than a ballpoint pen. Claunch was also known to be mentally ill; he lived at a small group home for men with mental illness. For all these reasons, some observers expected this shooting to be considered unacceptable.
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Are there ever circumstances when Houston cops are accountable for needless shootings?
Here's another example from The Texas Observer's Emily DePrang of how (even if "why" remains elusive) it's nearly impossible to hold Houston police officers accountable for shooting unarmed people. Her article opened:
Posted by Gritsforbreakfast at 9:09 AM