Friday August 22, 2014
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The FBI is the best of the best when it come to law enforcement investigations. I am glad they have chosen to investigate this shooting because when they are done, regardless of which way the investigation goes, I will have confidence in it. The FBI is neither likely to exaggerate anything, nor to sweep anything under the rug.
What am I talking about? Here are the only facts we have:
In a group home for the mentally ill, a wheelchair-bound schizophrenic man with one arm and one leg was fatally shot in the head by a Houston police officer.
Police responded to a call from the group home. The caller stated that resident Brian Claunch was acting aggressively after his caretaker refused to give him a cigarette and a soda.
Claunch has only one arm and one leg. When confronted by two police officers, he advanced on one of them. He had an object in his one hand. He was waving it.
A police spokesman says the officers gave verbal commands for the suspect to drop whatever he had in his hand, to stay still, and to speak with the officers.
It is stated that the one-armed man "trapped one officer with his wheelchair in the corner of a room."
It is also stated that the officer "couldn't get out" of the corner.
The second officer drew his weapon and shot the man in the head.
A police spokesman says that the officer who did the shooting was "in fear of the safety of his partner and the safety of himself" when he pulled the trigger on his duty weapon.
The object the dead man was waving in his hand was found to be a black felt pen with which he liked to draw.
That is all the data we have at this time except for the fact that the man suffered from schizophrenia and a bipolar disorder.
The local TV station--KRTK--quoted a clinical psychologist as saying that, "This was an incident that didn't have to take place if the individual, a police officer, had been trained in dealing with emotionally disturbed individuals."
That is, of course, speculation.
When the TV station asked whether or not the police officer who did the shooting had received such training the police department refused to reply.
There are, of course, many questions to be asked and answered.
If two officers cannot get control of a one armed one legged man in a wheel chair without shooting him in the head, they need a different job after they are released from prison.
I'll bet they never go to prison. A felt pen is a serious weapon! :-)
Unless there was something we weren't told, I'd have to agree with you. I am always willing to lean over backwards to place myself in the position of a police officer, but somehow this story just does not ring true. How, for example, is it possible for a one-armed man to "trap" someone in corner?
I find it hard to believe that an officer would deliberately shoot someone he didn't have to shoot, but I genuinely believe there was massive screwup here.
I'll keep checking on it. Sometimes it is very hard to find an followup details, but since the FBI has chosen to investigate this one it should be possible to learn the conclusion of their investigation.
Houston Television station KTRK is asking questions about this case. Among them are, "...how did a man with one arm and one leg, in a wheelchair, manage to corner a Houston police officer? And why did another officer reach for his gun, rather than his Taser?"
Here's a bit of information not included in the original story. Think about how much it changes the whole thing. Here's a better description of the "pen." "It turned out to be a silver ballpoint pen."
Here's a partial answer to one question. "HPD does confirm both officers were equipped with a Taser and tasked with disarming a double amputee in a wheelchair."
This, from Fox 26 in Houston, may or may not be significant: "FOX 26 News has learned a disabled man, shot and killed by police in September, had a violent encounter with police once before."
Entirely new subject:
I do not know who wrote the news report for KTRK, but read this and tell me if you would have given him a passing grade on a junior high essay.
"After allegedly lunging at one officer with the pen, a second officer, M. Marin, shot the wheelchair-bound man in the head."
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