This editorial is brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
HOUSTON, TX – Technically, he’s a “police chief”. Notice… we put that in quotes for a reason.
Apparently whoever hired him was looking for a “political hack in a police uniform”.
The mayor and city council of Houston, Texas, have set aside funds to expand their police department. According to police chief Art Acevedo:
“We’re fortunate we have a mayor and a council … that understands that our community doesn’t want less policing, they don’t want to defund the police, they want better policing and they want good cops.”
The result is that they now have 400 positions to fill in the Houston police department.
This all sounds good but there is a catch. That catch is you have to actually give a damn about your officers.
Police departments elsewhere are getting defunded, thanks to the capitulation of their elected officials to the terrorist threats from the Marxist Black Lives Matter (BLM) group and the anarchist/fascist group Antifa.
Other police departments, even those that aren’t losing their funding, are shedding officers. This is also thanks to BLM and Antifa, who have created a hostile environment for law enforcement in America.
In Rochester, NY, police chief La’Ron Singleterry resigned due to pressure applied by BLM activists, who mischaracterized police actions in the death of Daniel Prude. Singleterry wrote the following in his resignation letter:
“The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude’s death is not based on facts, and is not what I stand for.”
Law enforcement officers serve their communities well by doing their jobs. Their jobs are essential, as we have seen after months of lawless anarchy in major Democrat-run cities across America.
In this context, Acevedo’s offer to officers from defunded departments must sound good. On video, he does his best to sound welcoming.
The fly in the ointment is the death of 27 year-old Nicolas Chavez.
On April 21 of this year, Chavez was killed by multiple officers who responded to at least half a dozen 911 calls concerning Chavez. They described a distraught individual who was standing on a freeway, trying to jump in front of cars, making suicidal statements, and screaming incoherently.
Police found Chavez in a parking lot, armed with what has been described by various sources as a metal pipe, crowbar, and knife.
Chavez repeatedly demands that the police shoot him. They don’t.
They engage with him verbally, as they are trained to do, in an effort to get Chavez to drop his weapon(s) so that they can get treatment for him.
The encounter lasts some minutes (unclear how many from edited bodycam footage).
During the engagement, officers repeatedly attempt to persuade Chavez to get on the ground and drop his weapon, which he was using to injure himself but could just as easily use against any approaching officer.
Chavez repeatedly demands that police “Shoot!”
Eventually, Chavez moves quickly toward officer LeBlanc, who shoots and injures Chavez with his duty weapon.
“I’m going to die tonight”
“No Zach, that’s not what we want. You’re bleeding out and I can help you, but you gotta let me do it.”
Chavez then pulls on a taser wire to acquire the weapon.
Then he is shot by four officers and killed.
This case has many similarities to the case of Daniel Prude in Rochester. In both examples, a mentally unbalanced, suicidal subject has already injured himself while trying to commit suicide.
He then encounters police, asks their help to commit suicide, disobeys their commands, and then dies as a consequence of their own decisions.
Fox News commentator, Houston attorney Carmen Roe, described Chavez as “a man that is dead due to an unjustified shooting and improper training.”
In other words, she doesn’t think Chavez’s earlier attempts at suicide had anything to do with it. Chavez jumped in front of cars, stabbed himself, and then demanded that police officers shoot him.
He tried to provoke exactly that response by first rushing an officer while armed with a metal bar, and then trying to arm himself with a fallen stun gun after he had been shot.
Too many officers have been killed or wounded because they didn’t defend themselves in situations like this.
Police chief Acevedo appears to welcome police officers from defunded cities but he may be no different from the elected officials that drove their police officers away.
Acevedo says to prospective officers:
“If you’re going to come here to do the right thing, follow the training that’s provided and actually treat people the way you’d want to treat your own family … then you’re coming to the right place, but if you want to be one of the, I call them the ‘bushels of apples of bad cops’ because there’s more than just a few bad cops, don’t come to Houston.”
So who belongs to the “bushels of bad cops”?
Apparently, the four Houston officers under Acevedo’s command who shot Chavez. Of the 21 shots fired at Chavez, Acevedo ignores all the evidence that his officers tried to de-escalate the situation and says:
“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.”
The four officers involved in the shooting were fired.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo offered the family a public apology during a vigil.
“There’s nothing we can say or do to bring your son back, but I will tell you we are sorry from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.
Bottom line, Acevedo didn’t back his cops. They followed their training, did what they were supposed to do, and got fired for their efforts.
So what is he saying to potential recruits?
If they come to Houston, follow their training, and are so unlucky as to get called to an encounter with someone like Chavez, they could be fired and have their reputations ruined by their very own police chief.
Is that worth moving from Rochester, Portland, or Seattle?
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