Houston Police Department officers responded to multiple calls to 911 on April 21. The officers came across Nicolas Chavez, age 27. Before officers arrived on the scene, authorities were told by witnesses that Chavez was on running around on the highway in and out of traffic.
Police Chief Art Acevedo announced on Thursday that four involved officers have been fired and showed the video of the 15-minute confrontation that became violent. Officers can be seen shooting Chavez with beanbags and tasers before they fired dozens of rounds of gunshots, according to Click2Houston.
Police said Chavez was wielding a “pointed object” when officers showed up at the scene. They said Chavez was using this object to stab himself repeatedly. In the video, the officers are also heard trying to calm down Chavez.
Despite being warned repeatedly, along with the use of nonlethal force, Chavez was still wielding “a metal object and began moving quickly toward” an officer, then the officer fired his gun along with another officer.
A statement from police said Chavez then began crawling toward a stun gun on the ground and aimed it at officers who fired at him because they were “fearing for their lives.”
Chief Acevedo said the first round of gunfire was “objectionably reasonable,” while the next 21 shots from the remaining four officers were not, according to ABC News.
“The discharge of those 21 shots by those four members are not objectively reasonable,” Chief Acevedo stated.
Acevedo continued and said, “I don’t consider them objectively reasonable; the chain of command does not consider them objectively reasonable and I believe anyone that watches this will see they had a lot of opportunities and a lot of other options readily available to them that we, as long as I’m the police chief of this city, I will expect my officers to take would see they had a lot of opportunities and a lot of other options readily available to them.”
Houston police chief Acevedo also mentioned, “You don’t get to shoot somebody 21 times because, at that time when we discharged those 21 rounds, Mr. Chavez was at his greatest level of incapacitation.”
The firings were denounced by leaders of the Houston Police Officers’ Union. They said the officers were following what they had been trained to do and attempted to de-escalate the situation before it turned into the use of lethal force.
A total of 22 bullets and fragments were recovered from the body of Chavez, Acevedo said, who noted that ethanol, methamphetamine, and amphetamine were discovered in his system.
Acevedo said that a complete ballistics report is expected by the end of this month.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.