In a video sure to shock just about everyone, a video has recently surfaced showing an officer shooting that happened in March of last year resulting in the death of a handcuffed prisoner. Earlier this year, a jury of his peers declined to indict the officer for the murder of the criminal but the video is bringing about another wave of controversy.
Depicted in the video taken on March 8, 2013 are Officer Jose Flores and his prisoner, Daniel Rodrigo Saenz, along with another civilian escort. The incident began when Saenz began acting erratic at a local grocery store prompting a visit to a nearby medical center.
While there, he reportedly began striking several of the center’s staff as well as one off-duty police officer resulting in his arrest. Immediately before his arrest as well, Saenz struck his head against the door extremely hard with an apparent interest in hurting himself.
He was then taken to jail where Flores continued to wrestle and keep the man under control despite him still being handcuffed. This is where the video begins.
According to the El Paso Times:
[Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas] stated that Flores drew his handgun because “Saenz could quickly front his cuffs and turn them into a deadly weapon, given his considerable strength, agility and demonstrated resistance to the Taser … 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. The civilian escort’s arm then hits the trigger hand of Officer Flores, causing his weapon to discharge.”
Saenz was a competitive bodybuilder and trainer known at gyms across El Paso. An autopsy report said he was 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed 217 pounds. The autopsy did not find cocaine, PCP or other hard drugs in his system but reported that Saenz tested positive dimethylamylamine, or DMAA, a substance found in both workout supplements and bath salts — synthetic stimulants that can cause paranoia, panic attacks and impaired perception of reality.
Now there are mixed emotions regarding the circumstance shown within the video as according to Mediaite’s Luke O’Neil writes, “In an effort to protect this obviously disturbed man from causing himself, or anyone else, any further harm, Flores made the decision to shoot him to death while he was handcuffed.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m against police brutality and abuse of power just as much as the next guy, but I’m just not seeing it here. The video seems to corroborate the testimony as officer Flores seems as every bit shocked as he should be in the presence of an accidental discharge. Along with that, the civilian escort did in fact slam into his dominant hand. You can argue gun incompetence all you want, as obviously Flores’ finger shouldn’t have been on the trigger unless he was going to shoot, but this occurrence seemed a bit out of his control.
Besides that, there are far more effective ways to kill someone – if trying to make it look like an accident – than shoot them in the shoulder. What do you guys think though – was this just an unfortunate accident, or could there be foul play here? Let us know in the comments below.