Houston, TX — Suicide by cop — in the land of the free — is an unfortunate, and oft-used option for those in mental distress. All too often, police officers respond to incidents in which mentally ill people need help, and then kill those people, so it makes it a rather easy option. As a case out of Houston, Texas illustrates, sometimes the details of these stories that the public is told by authorities, do not match up with what actually unfolded.
Last week, police officers in Houston shot and killed a 27-year-old man they claimed charged at them and was suicidal. However, a video was submitted to the Free Thought Project which paints a completely different picture.
According to police, they responded to a call around the 800 block of Gazin Street on Wednesday night. A man had been reported jumping in and out of traffic and was reportedly suicidal. When police arrived on scene, they say neighbors told them that the man was jumping fences and allegedly threatening people with a “weapon.”
That weapon was later found to be a short piece of rebar. Though police claim the man threatened people, no one, including the officers who killed him received so much as a scratch. When police confronted the unnamed 27-year-old, they claimed he did not comply and allegedly threatened them.
According to Houston Police Chief, Art Acevedo, police had no choice but to open fire and kill the man as he charged them. As the Houston Chronicle reports:
Acevedo said more officers arrived on the scene and deployed two Taser rounds and non-lethal bean bag projectiles. The man at one point pulled out the Taser, he said. The bean bags also were ineffective, he said.
Acevedo said the officers opened fire when he started “charging” at them. At least four total Houston police officers discharged their firearm, he said.
Acevedo said he spoke to the man’s mother, who said earlier in the night he got into an argument with his wife. The mother said he recently got out of jail and was having emotional issues.
Though police claim the man charged officers, the video shows he was on his knees when multiple officers opened fire.
“It’s tough for everybody but it’s most tough for a mother that gave birth to a son,” Acevedo said during a news briefing on the scene. “All I could tell her was that whatever demons he was dealing with, as a person of faith, he’s in a perfect state in God’s hands.”
Acevedo went on to note that suicide by cop is an unfortunate reality in America, stopping short of claiming cops are always their to oblige.
“Mental health experts don’t like using that term, suicide by cop. I know that’s a term used frequently around the country, but this was a person who was not compliant. I think the facts speak for themselves, and I will let people draw their own conclusions,” Acevedo said.
The “fact” that this man “charged” the officers is certainly not speaking for itself, however.
Acevedo said all officers were wearing body-worn cameras, and investigators will review the footage. When and if it is made available, we will report on it. Until then, the footage from a citizen’s camera below will have to do.
As the video below shows, the man is on his knees. While he appears to be crawling toward the cops, they shoot him with a bean bag. This does not stop him but he is still on his knees.
The cops then deploy tasers and the man is seen throwing something at them. This was likely the tiny piece of rebar as we can hear it clink when it hits the pavement on the video — hitting no one. As the man grabs the taser wires and starts reeling them in, cops dump at least 20 rounds into him.
The video was posted by Dan Scarberry who said the man killed was a good friend of his. “A good friend of mine was murdered while on his knees by multiple police officers . Please show this video to everyone you can and hopefully it will be seen by the ones who can prevent this kind of tragedy in the future. He was only 27 years old………..” wrote Scarberry.
Adding to the already suspicious nature of this police shooting is the fact that ABC13 in Houston ran a headline on April 22 when it happened which stated, “Video shows HPD officers shoot and kill knife wielding man.” It is seen in the tweet from their correspondent below.
OVERNIGHT: when asked if this was suicide by cop, @ArtAcevedo said: “Mental health experts don’t like using that term, suicide by cop… This was a person who was not compliant. I will let people draw their own conclusions.” #abc13 https://t.co/aBZiQSdipr
— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) April 22, 2020
However, when you click their article, there is no mention of the video and the article title has since been changed to “Police shoot and kill man they say charged at them in E. Houston.”
Their article even includes an image of cops pointing guns, suggesting that they had video of the incident and then pulled it. Unfortunately, it was not archived until the next day, so we don’t know what changes were made.
This video below, does not lie.