El Paso, TX — A former El Paso cop was just given his job back after he shot and killed a handcuffed man on March 8, 2013. The entire incident was captured on video, yet the county had no problem giving back this officer his badge and gun.
Officer Jose Flores was quietly reinstated to the El Paso Police Department in August after the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas appealed the department’s decision to fire Flores, according to the El Paso Times.
Arbitrator Mark Sherman ruled that while Flores violated use of force policies, the shooting was accidental and he should be reinstated, reports the Times.
“Obviously, this was a very tough case because there was a person who lost his life and he should not have lost his life,” said James Jopling, lawyer for the association that represented Flores in the arbitration. “Nevertheless, Officer Flores was a very good officer at the time this happened and he continues to be. The department and city are going to benefit from his service.”
The disturbing footage shows former Mr. El Paso, Bodybuilder Daniel Saenz, 37, being dragged through the corridors and then outside because guards refused to admit him.
Once outside, the shirtless man struggles with Flores and another civilian guard who lose control of him. Flores then reaches for his taser but quickly decided to go for his gun instead. He then claims that the security guard bumped his finger causing him to kill Saenz.
Here is that graphic video:
Earlier that day, Saenz had been arrested for acting strangely at a local grocery store and got into a scuffle with police during the arrest.
Several hours later he was shot and killed by Officer Jose Flores. Flores claimed he used the Glock to subdue Saenz, because the tazer was used several times before with no effect.
According to CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas) Flores was not found guilty of a crime because Saenz still posed a significant threat, despite the cuffs.
‘Saenz could quickly front his cuffs and turn them into a deadly weapon, given his considerable strength, agility and demonstrated resistance to the Taser …
‘At the same moment Officer Flores draws his weapon, Mr. Saenz pushes off on that curb and, with remarkable strength, sends the civilian escort flying backwards.
‘The civilian escort’s arm then hits the trigger hand of Officer Flores, causing his weapon to discharge.’
The decision to rehire Flores is in spite of the department previously decrying his actions in a public notice of termination. The notice also stated that they were aware Flores lied about the incident. As the El Paso Times reports:
A Notice of Termination, which was issued to Flores on Oct. 28, 2014, stated that Flores was fired “based on the evidence, the shooting of Daniel Saenz falls outside Department policies, procedures, rules and/or regulations. Your use of deadly force against Saenz was not justified under Department policy.”
It goes on to state, “Saenz was handcuffed at all relevant times and you re-engaged in the struggle with him after you drew your weapon. Your conduct was the result of poor judgment and such conduct is not considered to be within the policy, practice or custom of the Department.”
The notice also states that Flores “misrepresented facts regarding res gestae statements made to supervisors and whether or not your conduct was intentional or accidental. By misrepresenting the facts you are considered to have been dishonest and untruthful.” Res gestae, Latin for “things done,” is the legal term for the circumstances and events that in this case led to the shooting.
When a cop can kill a man in handcuffs, on video, and not only avoid jail but also be given back their job — something is seriously wrong.