Midland, TX -- Rosendo Gino Rodriquez, 49, was shot dead in an altercation Monday while Midland Police were conducting a routine welfare check.
The Midland County mental health unit was conducting a regular welfare check at a home on the 2700 block of Washington Street, when things went sour. According to the Midland police, Rodriquez became "aggressive" during the welfare check.
The term aggressive is used loosely by the MPD, as they claim he acted out said "aggression" by running away from them, back into his house, and barricading himself in a room.
The Free Thought Project would like to clarify the definition of aggressive for the MPD: ready or likely to attack or confront; characterized by or resulting from aggression.
A person running in their house and locking themselves in a room is hardly an act of aggression. However, the MPD treated it as such and responded with its SWAT team, BearCat armored vehicle and bomb squad robot with a camera to gain a look inside the home, as well as a DPS helicopter.
Police claimed that after Rodriquez went inside, they may have heard gunshots. However no gun was found, nor evidence of any shots.
Family members say their father had not been on medication. Monday’s welfare check was intended to talk the man into taking his medication.
Rodriquez, whose family has been trying to get him help, was likely distraught by this heavy onslaught of police presence and became quite fearful, locking himself in his bathroom with a machete.
City spokeswoman, Sara Bustilloz said police attempted to use "many methods" including a negotiator to make contact with Rodriquez and end the situation without incident. However, the "many methods" were simply rubber bullets which proved to be ineffective, thus leading to the incompetent officers switching to real bullets.
“This is not how we want these situations to end,” Bustilloz said. “We want them to end without incident, and we do everything in our power to make sure we can do it that way first.”
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Officers eventually confronted the tormented man in his bathroom, where they found Rodriquez armed with a machete. After the heavily armed men in body armor, who apparently all forgot their tasers that day, "feared for their lives," they opened fire on the man, killing him.
According to CBS 7, per normal protocol, an external investigation into the officer-involved shooting will be completed by the Texas Rangers, and two officers involved in the altercation, who are identified as Sgt. Mitch Russell and Officer Sean Sharp, have been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation.
This incident is but another tragic example of the level police incompetence when dealing with the mentally ill.
A recent report out of California showed that the overwhelming majority of police have not completed state certification that focuses on the training in dealing with mental illness, suicide behavior, and drug use; this lack of training is evident, nationwide.
Instead of compassion and patience, which should be used in dealing with mentally unstable people, police most often resort to violent escalation.
The incompetence and negligence is rife throughout all levels of law enforcement which is why these deadly actions on behalf of the MPD will likely be ruled "justified."
It's not like police departments don't know that this training exists, the information is out there. We're simply witnessing callous disregard for the the preservation of life.
In a two-part study, researchers looked at use of the crisis intervention team, or CIT, model, a 40-hour program to train police to respond to those with mental health issues. They interviewed 586 officers, 251 of whom had received CIT training, and reviewed more than 1,000 police encounters with individuals believed to have behavioral disorders.
Officers who participated in CIT training were more knowledgeable about mental health issues, treatments and de-escalation skills, according to findings published in the April issue of the journal Psychiatric Services.
What’s more, when looking at emergency responses, incidents involving officers with CIT training were more likely to result in transport to mental health services and less likely to culminate in arrest. Researchers found that officers who had participated in training were also much more likely to indicate that the highest level of force used in their emergency response was verbal engagement or negotiation.
With the increased prevalence in autism and police aggression in general, something must be done before anymore innocent lives are taken.