Police all over the country could use a brush-up on their training. But unfortunately, that assessment is only made when someone has been killed or mistreated by police and then it’s kind of late for an apology and/or sensitivity training.
In Houston, Texas, Saturday, officer Matt Marin fatally shot Brian Claunch, a mentally unstable wheelchair-bound double amputee that had cornered his partner and held him hostage with a ballpoint pen. The officers were responding to a call from the caretaker/owner John Garcia of a “group home for the mentally ill” called Healing Hands. Officer Marin claimed to fear for his partner’s and his own life. They pleaded with Claunch, who is declared schizophrenic, to drop his weapon and when he didn’t Marin shot him in the back of his head, according to CNN. I wish I was making this up, but that’s the basic account of the incident.
Surely there will be more added to the story and there will be better sense made of the incident. But on the other hand, the chief of police, Charles A. McClelland has gotten involved and was compelled to offer these words in a press release on Monday:
“The Houston Police Department places the highest value on human life and events like these are tragic and unfortunate for everyone involved.”
Whoa! I’m gonna have to stop you right there. This doesn’t sound good. When the CHIEF OF POLICE has makes this type of statement, it’s all downhill from there:
“All Houston Police Officers receive mandatory crisis intervention training specifically dealing with persons experiencing mental crisis. As we do in all instances of this nature, the Houston Police Department’s Homicide and Internal Affairs Divisions, and the Harris County District Attorneys Office, Civil Rights Division, are investigating this incident.”
See what I mean? If all of this “training” and “highest value” was put on “human life” then we wouldn’t be reading this press release now would we? His words are damn near inflammatory to the family of the victim. They’re completely contradictory to what has happened. Who …in thee hell, without training, would shoot someone in a wheelchair that had merely brandished a ballpoint pen as his weapon? He only has one good leg, one good arm…why not shoot him in the arm he was using to wield the pen? Or no, maybe he thought it would be too inhumane to shoot a man with only one arm in the good arm, so let’s opt for his head. Yeah, right?!
And all of this could’ve been avoided had the caretaker simply given the man a cigarette and a Pepsi. Hell! I know people who are supposedly normal that act a fool if they don’t have their cigarettes and Pepsi. But the caretaker/owner John Garcia, withheld it from the man because it was so late? Sorry for trying to offer an excuse. This gets dumber by the minute. Oh yeah! And you might not be surprised to find out that this isn’t the first time this type of incident has happened with this officer who’s only been on the force for five years.