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Houston PD officer given 3 days admin leave...

RightIsWrong

Diamond Member
Apr 29, 2005
5,650
0
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After shooting and killing a wheelchair bound paraplegic.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/23/us/texas-amputee-shooting/index.html

A Houston police officer fatally shot in the head a schizophrenic, wheelchair-bound double amputee threatening people with a pen at a group home for the mentally ill after authorities said the man advanced on the officer's partner, police said.

The shooting occurred early Saturday morning after police responded to a call that resident Brian Claunch was acting aggressively after his caretaker refused to give him a cigarette and a soda, the owner of the home and police said.

"The officers made verbal commands for the suspect to drop whatever he had in his hand, to stay still and to speak with the officers, but the suspect continued to make threats," Jodi Silva, a police spokeswoman, told CNN affiliate KTRK in Houston.

Claunch, who lost an arm and a leg in a train accident, trapped one officer with his wheelchair in the corner of a room "where he couldn't get out," said a Houston police department spokesperson who declined to be identified. The double amputee was "advancing towards" the officers and "refusing to show his hands."

According to police accounts reported in the media, including by KTRK, Claunch attempted to stab the officer with an object that turned out to be a pen.

Officer Matt Marin, "in fear of the safety of his partner and the safety of himself, discharges his duty weapon, striking the suspect," Silva said.

The unnamed Houston police spokesperson said later Sunday that Marin himself was not cornered, unlike his partner, when he shot the wheelchair-bound man in the head.
According to investigators, Claunch was shot once and he died at the scene.

It was the second time Marin was involved in a shooting. In October 2009, he shot and killed a knife-wielding man who stabbed his girlfriend and a neighbor, according to published reports at the time. Marin joined the Houston Police Department in 2007.

In the wake of the weekend shooting, the officer was placed on administrative leave per department policy, according to police.

Claunch, who was in his 40s, had been at the Healing Hands home for 18 months, John Garcia, the owner of the group home, told KRTK.
Houston police have not released the identity of the man, though Garcia identified him as Claunch.

Garcia told the Houston Chronicle that Claunch liked to "doodle."
Two days earlier, Garcia gave Claunch a black felt pen to draw. Garcia told the newspaper he did not know if it was that pen or another one that Clauch had in his hand when he was shot.

Garcia said Claunch suffered from schizophrenia and a bipolar disorder.
"He had a temper. He could fly off once in awhile," he told CNN affiliate KHOU.
Claunch was capable of making people in the house feel threatened during an outrage, even though he was confined to a wheelchair, Garcia said.

"Emotionally disturbed individuals, when threatened, are going to react in most instances, excessively," Dr. Ed Reitman, a clinical psychologist, told KRTK.

"This was an incident that didn't have to take place if the individual -- a police officer -- had been trained in dealing with emotionally disturbed individuals."

The Houston Police Department has officers trained to deal with the mentally ill, though the department would not say whether Marin received training, according to KRTK.
If the story is reported accurately by the HPD spokeman, couldn't the cop that shot him just as easily come up from behind the guy, taken hold of his wheelchair and steered him away from his partner?

Contrast this with how the Pittsburgh police and SWAT team handled a hostage situation involving a schizophrenic on Friday where they were able to wait him out, keep in communication with him and eventually get him to surrender without incident.
 

nehalem256

Lifer
Apr 13, 2012
15,670
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Normally I tend to side with police in the cases of them shooting a crazy person wielding a weapon.

But normally the crazy person wields a weapon more dangerous than a pen.

I have a hard time believing its justified in this case.
 

monovillage

Diamond Member
Jul 3, 2008
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If you attempt to stab a police officer, or anyone else for that matter, you should expect to be shot. Outrage not found.
 
Jan 25, 2011
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So the cop should be willing to risk severe injury to himself? Tip for you, that's not part of the job. A threatening suspect wielding an unknown weapon refusing to release it while continuing in an aggressive action towards anyone... It won't end well. Ever.
 
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dawheat

Diamond Member
Sep 14, 2000
3,121
68
91
Backed into a corner by a double amputee in a wheelchair and threatened by a pen? Seriously - I normally side with cops when it comes down to judgement calls on deadly force, but come on. Getting trapped by a guy who's great weakness is....turning left.

"refusing to show his hands."

More accurate to say he refused to show his hand :)
 
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thraashman

Lifer
Apr 10, 2000
10,898
1,042
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History of threatening behavior.
Attacks cops.

Seems like good riddance.
Mentally ill and a double amputee. So are you in favor if an 8 year old with behavioral issues threatened a cop with a pen, that the cop shot the 8 year old? Because he'd be about as equally threatening.
 

Smoblikat

Diamond Member
Nov 19, 2011
5,185
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Basically its like this:
Unless you have ever been in a situation where an unstable person is making threats at you then you dont know what youre talking about. That said, these people are trained, armored, and armed. The guy was wielding a pen, and wheelchair bound, the whole "trapped" in a corner BS doesnt fly with me, use your foot and push him backwards or have your partner move him. This is just another example of the worlds largest gang getting away with murder under the premise of making the world safer.
 

Nintendesert

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2010
7,761
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Reading the story it doesn't appear that the officers knew it was a pen. Only after the fact and with some nice 20/20 vision can you all condemn their actions.
 

airdata

Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2010
4,987
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I like how people on the board have the "oh, he deserved to die" attitude instead of the " did he have to die?" attitude that any decent person would have.
 

ichy

Diamond Member
Oct 5, 2006
6,940
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This story is pretty consistent with the stories I have heard about the Houston PD.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,876
460
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Seems quite excessive to me. Even assuming he'd had a knife, surely a wheel-chair bound one-armed man can be overcome without shooting him.
 

nehalem256

Lifer
Apr 13, 2012
15,670
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I like how people on the board have the "oh, he deserved to die" attitude instead of the " did he have to die?" attitude that any decent person would have.
Maybe that is because if you physically assault others your safety is not their responsibility?

Now Police are generally held to a higher standard than every day citizens and it I think it is reasonable that they should be able to subdue a pen-armed man without shooting him. But the man's actions directly led to his death.
 

monovillage

Diamond Member
Jul 3, 2008
8,445
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Seems quite excessive to me. Even assuming he'd had a knife, surely a wheel-chair bound one-armed man can be overcome without shooting him.
I disagree, if i had some guy in a wheelchair swinging a knife or pen or whatever in the vicinity of John Henry and the boys I'd sure as hell want my partner to shoot the guy.
 

Riparian

Senior member
Jul 21, 2011
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I disagree, if i had some guy in a wheelchair swinging a knife or pen or whatever in the vicinity of John Henry and the boys I'd sure as hell want my partner to shoot the guy.
Let's hope you're never incompetent to the point that you can be trapped in the corner by a one armed, one legged, wheelchair bound person who is somehow out flanking you in that corner with his one arm and at the same time threatening you with that same hand with a shiny object.
 

monovillage

Diamond Member
Jul 3, 2008
8,445
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Let's hope you're never incompetent to the point that you can be trapped in the corner by a one armed, one legged, wheelchair bound person who is somehow out flanking you in that corner with his one arm and at the same time threatening you with that same hand with a shiny object.
They were taken by surprise, it happens. I know enough paras that I sure as hell wouldn't want them getting a hold of me. Why such contempt for this disabled persons abilities?
 

Riparian

Senior member
Jul 21, 2011
294
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They were taken by surprise, it happens. I know enough paras that I sure as hell wouldn't want them getting a hold of me. Why such contempt for this disabled persons abilities?
It's not contempt, it's being realistic and functioning within the physical possibilities of a person with one arm and one leg who is wheelchair bound. If the guy was rolling the wheelchair, then he can't stab with the pen. If he is threatening with the pen in his hand, then he's unable to move the chair. How hard is that to understand?

Also, the cops arrived in the care home with the knowledge that the person was being threatening. There's no "taken by surprise" here.
 

monovillage

Diamond Member
Jul 3, 2008
8,445
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It's not contempt, it's being realistic and functioning within the physical possibilities of a person with one arm and one leg who is wheelchair bound. If the guy was rolling the wheelchair, then he can't stab with the pen. If he is threatening with the pen in his hand, then he's unable to move the chair. How hard is that to understand?

Also, the cops arrived in the care home with the knowledge that the person was being threatening. There's no "taken by surprise" here.
They probably had the same level of contempt that you do for disabled people and didn't think it would be a problem. They got schooled.
 

kage69

Lifer
Jul 17, 2003
16,510
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While I understand that special training may be preferable when dealing with disturbed individuals, a knife attack from a sane person is just as deadly as one from a disturbed person.
Cops, by being the ones having to deal with that in person, shouldn't be held at fault for operating under that mindset.

However, I'm a little bothered when I read about cops demanding a one armed man "show his hands"

Unless there is a 100% confirmed presence of a gun, I don't see why lethal force would have to be used with a double amputee. How about you hold one of the wheels with your foot , let him swear up a storm and swing away feebly until he peters out?
 

monovillage

Diamond Member
Jul 3, 2008
8,445
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While I understand that special training may be preferable when dealing with disturbed individuals, a knife attack from a sane person is just as deadly as one from a disturbed person.
Cops, by being the ones having to deal with that in person, shouldn't be held at fault for operating under that mindset.

However, I'm a little bothered when I read about cops demanding a one armed man "show his hands"

Unless there is a 100% confirmed presence of a gun, I don't see why lethal force would have to be used with a double amputee. How about you hold one of the wheels with your foot , let him swear up a storm and swing away feebly until he peters out?
Is the wheelchair a motorized one? How much of his amputated arm does he still have? Past the elbow? Any prosthetic?
Not in the story iirc.
 

xj0hnx

Diamond Member
Dec 18, 2007
9,267
3
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So the cop should be willing to risk severe injury to himself? Tip for you, that's not part of the job. A threatening suspect wielding an unknown weapon refusing to release it while continuing in an aggressive action towards anyone... It won't end well. Ever.
BWAHAHAHAHA!!! "Severe injury" from a fucking amputee in a wheelchair? Holy fucking hell I've heard it all now.
 

CitizenKain

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2000
4,480
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How worthless of a person are you if you get trapped by someone in a wheelchair? Oh no, this guy might roll into me.
 

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