A recent ABC News story about a grand jury refusing to convict a Texas cop of killing an unarmed mentally-ill Black man might just leave you speechless.
A five-year veteran of the Killeen Police Department killed 52-year-old Patrick Warren in his own yard.
“A grand jury in Texas has declined to indict police officer Reynaldo Contreras who fatally shot an unarmed Black man who rushed toward him during a mental health call. Family members have said that the day before Warren was killed, a Bell County mental health deputy had taken him to a hospital.”
Body camera footage shows police returning the next day and shooting Warren on his front lawn.
“Body camera footage shows Patrick Warren waving his hands as he walks into his yard, toward officer Reynaldo Contreras, who tells him to get on the ground. Contreras then uses his stun gun. Warren gets back up and begins again advancing toward Contreras, who warns Warren to “lay back” and that he’ll shoot him before firing.”
A Killeen Police Department news release attempts to sanitize police tasing people in the most humanely detached way possible.
“This incident is rightfully of great concern to the community. As Killeen Police Chief, it is my duty to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted so that all parties, including the public, have the answers they seek. There are many more facts in this case that are not publicly available at this time. I assure you that more information will be made available as soon as appropriate, and I ask for your patience as both investigations proceed.”
Apparently, police care so much about tasing unarmed people that they felt the need to first add what essentially amounts to a public disclaimer.
Because we our so concerned about how the community will respond to us killing an unarmed Black man, we will withhold divulging “many more facts…” whatever those might be.
The Killeen Police Department does its best to sanitize the story even further by acknowledging that they received a “reference to a psychiatric call” with no mention of a mental health deputy being there the day prior.
The police department’s news release reads like a clinical account of the government’s version of events, that is a SINGLE paragraph long.
“At approximately 5:29 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 1600 block of Carrollton Avenue in reference to a 911 call in reference to a psychiatric call. Upon the officer’s arrival, he encountered an emotionally distressed man. The officer initially used his conducted energy weapon, which was ineffective, and then discharged his duty weapon during the encounter, striking the subject. The male was transported by paramedics to the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and later succumbed to his injuries. He was pronounced deceased by medical personnel and Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke.”
Police reports are notoriously one-sided, and this one in particular reveals two disturbing trends that police across the country have begun using.
One: how to make electrocuting a person sound less life-threatening?
I know; let’s first change the name of the company from Taser International to Axon Enterprise Inc., that will sound less life-threatening. Oh and while you’re at it, the Department of Justice thinks it would be a great idea for police departments to refer to government-approved electrocutions (50,000 volts) as “conducted energy devices.”
“Today, more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States use conducted energy devices (CEDs) as an alternative to conventional physical control tactics or other means of subdual.”
This is not some cheesy SYFY TV show where Robocops shoot people with futuristic energy weapons; this is American police departments doing their best to sanitize tasing people by using conducted energy weapons or devices.
Secondly, by describing a police officer as discharging his “duty weapon” on an unarmed Black person who later “succumbed to his injuries” is a disservice to his humanity.
No person of color should ever be described by law enforcement in such clinically disconnected terms. This is not 1821, it’s 2021; taking a human life should never be described by government agents in such a disrespectful manner.
Don’t forget that for the past thirteen years, America’s police have also been using Axon’s X12 Mossberg 500 shotgun on people.
As Forbes warns, people will soon have more to worry about than being shot by Axon’s CEDs, because in the not-too-distant future, police will be shooting people with “WATOZZ” electroshock bullets.
“The WATOZZ is a two-shot handgun which uses a mechanical system — presumably, spring-powered — to fire less-lethal projectiles to 32 feet. As with XREP, the projectiles stick to the target and are claimed to deliver an immobilizing shock. Radio control allows the firer to turn the shocks on or off remotely.”
As BBC News warns, “no developed nation in the world uses police firearms on their citizens as often as the United State’s does.” Giving police officers the ability to shock people at will for whatever reason[s] they can come up with is a killing[s] waiting to happen.
Source: MassPrivateI Blog
Top image credit: Brantford police
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