Are Cops Becoming Trigger Happy?

August 27th, an unarmed black man was shot while he was a patient at a Houston hospital. A 26-year old student that was in the hospital was shot. In a hospital. By an off duty officer working as a security guard at the hospital. Were the officers at fault? Of course not. The patient, Alan Pean was charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant. According to Alternet, the Houston Police Department released this statement:

“Officers Ortega and Law were working extra jobs as security at St. Joseph Medical Center at the above address when they were summoned to the eighth floor to help nurses subdue a combative patient. Once the officers arrived, the patient continued to refuse to comply with the nurses and officers’ demands. The patient suddenly physically assaulted Officer Ortega, striking him in the head, causing a laceration. At that time, Officer Law deployed his conducted energy device, which had no apparent effect on the suspect who continued to assault the officers. Officer Ortega, fearing for his and his partner’s safety, then discharged his duty weapon, striking the suspect one time.”

Since when do patients get shot when they are seeking help at a hospital? The cops couldn’t wait for a doctor to sedate the patient if he was being irate? Obviously the young man was at the hospital because he needed help. Alternet reported,”the family and medical professionals are disturbed by the handling of Alan’s case and what looks like a failure on many levels. Alan had driven himself to the hospital the night of August 26, during an acute mental health crisis. When he got there, he crashed his car and was treated for those injuries. But the mental health issues, which were what brought Alan to the hospital in the first place, were ignored, according to the Pean family. Alan’s father, himself a physician, begged the hospital to get his son a psychiatric evaluation given that Alan had suffered a similar episode in 2009. But the hospital decided he was ready to be discharged, clearing him a mere minutes before the shooting.” This young man had a similar episode before and his very own father told the hospital about the previous incident, yet he was ignored. Professionals in the Health Care Industry are now petitioning for guns to be banned in the hospitals, even by security and off duty police officers. Pean is expected to recover.

September 16th, an unarmed man was shot by Rancho Cordova police because they had “mistaken” his cell phone for a gun. NowThis reports that unarmed Danny Sanchez was trying to film a police standoff on his street due to the police investigating a neighbor. According to Jason Ramos, Sergeant, sheriff’s department, “But he [Sanchez] found himself in the midst of things, and some of his actions were perceived to be threatening” Sanchez’s father claimed that Danny had stepped outside of his garage and then was shot. Sanchez is expecting to recover.

August 1st, an unarmed deaf man was shot and killed in his own vehicle for talking too loud. Edward P. Miller was shot and killed by Volusia County sheriff’s deputy Joel Hernandez. Miller and his son were at a tow truck shop in order to handle a dispute between the company and themselves. Miller had a legal concealed weapon on his hip and the employees of the tow truck service called the police for fear of their safety. MintPress News reported that, “the [police] report even acknowledged that Miller told the officer the reason he was “yelling” was unintentional, and not because he was trying to be disorderly, but because he was deaf and could not gauge how loud he was being as well as the officer apparently demanded.” MintPress News also reported that there were eye-witnesses on the shooting and that Miller was in fact sitting in his vehicle with his windows rolled up when the Deputy opened fire. Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Hernandez is now being investigated.

April 22nd, unarmed black teenager was shot. 18-year-old William Chapman was shot and killed by a Virginia police officer in a Walmart parking lot. The coroners report states that there is no evidence of close range fire. You can see the video report by CNN here. They are currently in trial.

August 28th, an unarmed and shirtless hispanic man was shot and killed in San Antonio, Texas, by two Bear County Sheriffs Deputies. Gilbert Flores was in a residential neighborhood and looks to have surrendered since he had his hands raised up. You can see the unedited video here. Please be aware that it does contain violent content. Please view at your own discretion. The two Bear County Sheriffs Deputies are currently on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. The family of Gilbert Flores has hired an attorney.

June 19th, an unarmed hispanic man in Los Angeles was shot and killed by LAPD after waving them down for asstiance. He had a towel wrapped around his arm and the officers believed he had a gun under the wrapping. The LA Times reports, “A motorist shot graphic video of the officers handcuffing the man with a visible head injury.” Which you can see the video here. Please be aware that it does contain violent content. Please view at your own discretion.

August 7th, unarmed black teenager shot and killed in Arlington, Texas. 19-year-old college football player Christian Taylor was shot by officer Brad Miller who had just graduated police academy in March. USA Today reported that “Miller had no prior police experience before joining the Arlington department…He is on administrative leave during separate criminal and administrative investigations.” Taylor was on the property of a car dealership around 1am when officers received a call about a burglary at the dealership after Taylor drove his car through the showroom. You can see the surveillance video of Taylor on the dealership property here. Brad Miller was fired for “exercising poor judgement”.

These are all just a few of the shootings by police officers that have happened THIS YEAR. The Guardian is keeping data on all police related shootings which you can see here is broken down by state and by race/ethnicity.

Things need to change.

We cannot have a shoot first ask later mentality.


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