The family members of an alleged suicidal man who was shot and killed by three Houston police officers and a sergeant responded Tuesday to HPD’s decision to reinstate them.
On Monday, HPD Chief Troy Finner addressed the decision to give the officers and sergeant their jobs back after former HPD Chief Art Acevedo fired them back in 2020 for the shooting death of Nicolas Chavez.
“It’s difficult. It’s emotional. There are families involved. You got the department involved, our community,” Finner said during Monday’s press conference.
On Tuesday, a press conference was held by the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice to denounce the reinstatement of those four officers. Alongside those members was Chavez’s father, Joaquin.
Civil rights activist Johnny Mata led the press conference, arguing that despite training to de-escalate situations, the police officers and sergeant did not do their part to control the situation.
“This one is for you son,” said Joaquin.
He said his son was shot five times before falling to the ground. After that, he said the man was shot another 24 times.
“Senseless. There was no reason. He was already down. It’s senseless to have them back doing a job that they failed at in the first place,” Joaquin said.
Back in April of 2020, HPD officers responded to a call involving 27-year-old Nicolas, whose family said was having a mental health crisis at the time.
According to authorities, the officers shot at Nicolas after he allegedly reached for an officer’s Taser.
Those officers were identified as officer Patrick Rubio, who had been with the department since May 2018; officer Luis Alvarado, who had been with the department since March 2019; officer Omar Tapia, who had been with the department since March 2019; and Sgt. Benjamin LeBlanc, who had been with the department since October 2008.
Finner gave the four their jobs back after an arbitrator ruled the City of Houston did not prove the officers violated policy during the investigation.
“The decision that was made (Monday) to reinstate killer cops is a travesty of justice,” said another civil rights activist. “The Hispanic community is angry. We’re outraged. There is no justice for us. Where is the outrage like when George Floyd was
Mata said he called elected officials Monday asking for assistance in getting the attorney general’s attention. He hopes to get a meeting scheduled with the Chavez family and the attorney general.
“My message to the union officials is, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, of your leadership, because it’s your job to clean up the misconduct and injustice that occurs within the rank,” said Mata.