Police Chief Kala Acevedo told a press conference on Thursday that a total of 24 shots were fired during the incident. Only three of those 24 shots were considered “purposefully justified”.
On the night of April 21, police responded to a call from a man who was walking in and out of traffic, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth reported. Police spent about 15 minutes with Chavez, during which he used a bean bag round and stun gun on Chavez and tried to stop him. He kept moving towards the officers, who would repeatedly tell him to drop what they thought was a piece, but that was a piece.
One of the officers, identified by Acevedo as Sergeant Leblanc, fired the first two shots, which were deemed “purposefully justified”. Shots dropped Chavez to the ground, but Chavez got back up and headed towards the officers again and grabbed a piece of Rebar again. Another officer then fired a third shot that was also considered “purposefully justified”.
While on the ground, Chavez appears in the video on one of the stun guns that was used on him. After Chavez had a hold of the stun gun and told the officers, he fired 21 more bullets, killing him.
Aisvedo said after showing the footage, “The discharge of those 21 shots by those four members of the Houston Police Department is not objectively justified.” “I don’t consider them objectively reasonable. The chain of command doesn’t consider them objectively justified. And I believe that whoever watches this tape, who watches it, sees that they have There were a lot of opportunities and a lot of other options. They are readily available that as long as I am the Chief of Police in this city, I would expect my officers. “
Acevedo also said that 21 of those shots were fired when Chavez was incapacitated at his greatest level, noting that he had already shot multiple times.
“It’s inexplicable for me, when they had the constant opportunity to do what they were doing, for them to stay in line and shoot a man 21 times,” Acevedo said. “I can’t defend it.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also said at Thursday’s press conference, he had seen the video several times.
“It’s hard to see without questioning why the shooting finally happened, and I wish the encounter could have been different, and knowing that it should have had a different outcome,” he said.
Cellphone video of the shooting by an onlooker went viral in April, with leading activists and Chavez’s father asked to release body cam footage. However, Chavez’s widow requested that the footage not be released because according to CBS DFW, how graphic the viewer’s video was. The family told CBS DFW that Chewaz had a history of mental illness.
The chief of the police union condemned the firing, calling the “CBS affiliate FHOU-TV reports unjust and degrading.” “It was clear … these officials did not want to shoot Mr. Chavez and did not do everything in their power,” union president Joe Gambedi said.
The union also claimed that Firring’s arrival occurred as a result of political pressure following protests calling for police reform following the assassination of George Floyd.
According to Union Vice President Doug Griffith, the shooting was justified by Houston’s Independent Police Oversight Board, CBS DFW reported.