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Houston Mayor Parker And Police Chief McClelland Referring Possible Cases Of Houston Police Abuse To Federal Government For Investigation—This Is The Correct Course

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The Houston Chronicle reports that the federal government is investigating 6 incidents of Houston Police shooting or otherwise allegedly abusing unarmed persons. The Chronicle reports that 3 of these matters were referred to the feds by Houston Police Chief Charles McClellend.

( Picture above is of Houston Mayor Annise Parker in front of an airplane.) 

I have made posts on the blog about two of the incidents that the federal government is investigating.

Unarmed teen Chad Holley was beaten in 2010 by a number of Houston police officers.

Earlier in 2012, a double amputee in a wheelchair named Brian Claunch was shot and killed by Houston police.

There is no way the Chief is referring multiple cases of possible police abuse and misdeeds to the federal government without the approval in one form or another of Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Mayor Parker and Chief McClelland should be commended for this course of action.

In the past the Mayor has addressed racism and sexism within the Houston Fire Department.

While our safety forces do many good and brave things, it is also so that some of them engage in wrong actions.

It is good for Houston that Mayor Parker has been willing to confront this fact.

December 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Double Amputee In Wheelchair Shot Dead By Houston Police—A Complete Investigation Is Required

(Update–9/24/12.  The Houston Chronicle reports that Houston Police have asked the FBI to monitor the invesitigation into the shooting of Mr. Claunch.)  

A Houston police officer shot and killed double amputee who was threatening to stab an officer with what turned out to be a pen.

The dead man is Brian Claunch. Above you see a picture of Mr. Claunch.

The name of the officer who pulled the trigger was Matthew Marin.

From the Houston Chronicle

“A schizophrenic double amputee waving a writing pen from his wheelchair was fatally shot early Saturday by a Houston police officer, authorities said….Police were called to the East End personal care home around 2 a.m. because resident Brian Claunch had become agitated after his caretaker refused to give him a soda and a cigarette…. “He was approaching them aggressively,” said Houston Police Department spokes­woman Jodi Silva. “He was attempting to stab them with what is now found to be a pen.”..Claunch, who had been living at the home for the past 18 months with two other men, ignored officers’ commands and made threats against them and other occupants of the home… Claunch trapped one of the officers in a corner, authorities said…Claunch told him that he lost his right leg to just above the knee and all of his right arm when he was hit by a train… The victim, who was in his mid-40s, came to the East End personal care home more than a year ago, as part of a placement by the Harris County guardianship program. …Claunch liked to “doodle” and two days ago…(was) given…a black felt pen to draw with.” 

Here is the report on the shooting from Houston TV station KPRC. 

I am not in the shoes of the police officers involved in the incident. There should be a proper investigation. There are times in life when we call police officers and they are helpful.

At the same time, this case should be out there and not forgotten. Police officers can kill a person and get away with it even if what they have done is wrong.

It does seem possible that a double amputee in a wheelchair waving a pen could be have been dealt with in a manner other than shooting him.

Mr. Claunch could not have been tasered?

The Associated Press story about the incident says that the officer who shot Mr. Claunch had in 2009 shot and killed a person who had stabbed someone and who would not put down his knife.

It would be interesting to know what mental health assistance the Houston Police Department offered the officer after that shooting. It would also be interesting to know the quality of the facility where Mr. Claunch was staying.

A follow up story from the Chronicle disccuses concerns from some in Houston about how Houston Police deal with citizens who may be mentally ill. 

From the Chronicle—

“Advocates are calling for better training and more discipline after a Houston police officer fatally shot a mentally ill double-amputee in a wheelchair on Saturday, the third unarmed person police have shot in less than three months.”

 The people of Houston should  ask that a complete and fair investigation take place, and that the findings of such an investigation be acted upon in a way that reflects the facts of the shooting.

September 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 14 Comments

   

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