Police State

Cop Kills Handcuffed Prisoner; Won’t Face Charges

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An El Paso, Texas man’s life came to a bizarre and apparently preventable end in March 2013. Video shows the man being killed by a police officer while he was handcuffed and on the ground.

According to the El Paso Times, the ordeal began when 37-year-old Daniel Saenz allegedly exhibited bizarre behavior at a supermarket. He was taken to a local medical center and that’s when everything went downhill.

As noted in the report, Saenz allegedly attacked an off-duty police officer and staff while there. He was arrested and taken to jail, but the staff allegedly wouldn’t accept him because he “struck his own head into the doorway causing himself injury.” The suspect allegedly had dimethylamylamine in his system, which may help explain his behavior.

An officer and guard dragged Saenz outside and appeared to talk to him. He was seated on the sidewalk and in handcuffs at this point.

But when they tried to stand him up, he struggled, even after falling to the ground with both men on top of him. He also allegedly tried to slam his own head onto the ground.

At this time, the officer, Jose Flores, got up as the guard attempted to hold Saenz down by his shoulders.  Flores reached for his Taser, but opted for his gun instead when the suspect pushed the guard away. He fired a single shot and struck him in the shoulder.

Flores then got on top of the suspect, who continued to struggle for a few moments before stopping.  The officer then attempted CPR before paramedics arrived and took Saenz to a hospital, where he died.

Flores’ lawyer, Jim Jopling, who works with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), says Saenz had been Tased five times earlier in the day without effect. He also claims the suspect had been observed moving his cuffed hands from the back to the front of his body earlier that day. CLEAT says he could have turned “them into a deadly weapon, given his considerable strength, agility and demonstrated resistance to the Taser.”

CLEAT also suggests that Flores didn’t intend to fire the shot.

“At the same moment Officer Flores draws his weapon, Mr. Saenz pushes off on that curb and, with remarkable strength, sends the civilian escort flying backwards,” it stated. “The civilian escort’s arm then hits the trigger hand of Officer Flores, causing his weapon to discharge.”

Meanwhile, a grand jury has declined to indict Flores in the shooting.

And this wasn’t the only shooting of an unarmed suspect in recent years. Miami-Dade police fired at least 377 shots at an unarmed suspect and an innocent passenger as they tried to surrender in December 2013. And this unarmed suspect was gunned down as he fled earlier this year.

What do you think? Was it necessary to draw a weapon against a handcuffed prisoner? Should Flores have been charged in Saenz’s death?