HOUSTON, Texas – The Houston Police Officer’s Union reacted Friday after the firing of four officers. The officers were fired after a four-month investigation involving the fatal shooting of Nicolas Chavez, 27.
Officers responded to the report of a suicidal person on April 21 outside a restaurant. Police believe Chavez charged at the officers with a sharp item.
ABC 13 in Houston said Chavez was on his knees and officers first fired bean bags and a taser followed by live rounds.
According to The Texas Tribune, Chavez had a history of mental illness and drug addiction and at the time of the shooting was trying to take his own life.
The father of Chavez, in a Texas Tribune article, said what happened to his son was an execution.
“Nationwide, at least 25% of people who are shot and killed by police officers suffer from acute mental illness at the time of their death.” Cassandra Stout, from International Bipolar Foundation said, “People with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be fatally shot during an encounter with police than people with their mental illnesses under control.”
The police union president Joe Gimaldi said, “This unjust and deplorable decision by Chief Acevedo has sent a shock wave through HPD, even if you deescalate, retreat, follow policy, training and the law … you will still lose your job as a Houston Police Officer.”
“They did everything that everyone across this is asking law enforcement to do,” Gimaldi said and added that officers retreated and “deescalated” for 15 minutes.
“They used every non-lethal option available,” he said. Grimaldi described the officers as brave and exceptional.
CLICK HERE to see a video of the press conference from the union.
Police released body camera video during a press conference later in the day Thursday.
(Krizia E. Williams contributed to this report.)