Daniel Saenz, 37, was fatally shot by El Paso, Texas police officer Jose Flores, 40, while handcuffed on the ground, and newly released surveillance video captured the entire incident, reports the El Paso Times.
Read details of the March 8, 2013 shooting below:
Saenz had been arrested that day on assault charges after allegedly attacking an off-duty police officer and staff at Del Sol Medical Center, where he had been taken after he was found exhibiting bizarre behavior at an Alberstons supermarket on Yarbrough Drive.
The jail video released Monday starts with Saenz shirtless, handcuffed behind his back and sliding sitting on the floor as he is dragged by Flores and an unnamed prisoner transport guard.
Police officials had said that Saenz was being taken from the jail to a hospital. Jail staff had refused to accept Saenz because when he was being walked into the jail he “struck his own head into the doorway causing himself injury,” according to a previously released Custodial Death Report. In the video, there appears to be blood on Saenz’s face.
In the video, Saenz begins to struggle with the officers after they stand him up. Saenz falls to the ground but keeps trying to get up with the two men on top of him.
In the video, the guard is attempting to hold Saenz by the shoulders when Flores gets up. At first, Flores appears to reach for the Taser in his left holster.
When Saenz pushes off the guard, Flores draws his Glock semi-automatic handgun from his right holster. The guard moves away and Flores fires a single gunshot.
Flores then holsters his gun, pulls his yellow Taser and gets atop of Saenz, who is face down, bleeding from a shoulder and continues to kick for a few seconds until he stops moving as blood spreads on the ground.
Saenz is eventually turned over. Flores begins CPR before the arrival of paramedics and an ambulance that takes Saenz to a hospital.
Saenz died at the hospital. An autopsy found that the bullet traveled from Saenz’s shoulder and into his chest.
Watch full surveillance video below:
“The video does not show an important event that happened earlier in the day,” said Jim Jopling, a lawyer with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT). “When Mr. Saenz was in his holding cell at the Pebble Hills Regional Command Center, he was observed moving his cuffed hands from behind his body to the front of his body. This is called ‘fronting’ his cuffs. Mr. Saenz, who was in bare feet, put his shoes on and, when finished, moved his handcuffs back behind his body. Mr. Saenz did this with great agility and speed.
“In the video, Officer Flores first reaches for his Taser. However, he decides not to deploy his Taser because he knew that Mr. Saenz — also earlier that same day — had undergone five cycles of the Taser device, without effect. He had been Tased earlier in the day after he assaulted a police officer and other people at the hospital where he was being evaluated.”
In February, a grand jury declined to indict Flores after an allegedly thorough investigation.
“After an investigation spanning months, and thoroughly investigating the shooting and the backgrounds of Officer Flores and Daniel Saenz, the grand jury took no action,” El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza said.
Read more at the El Paso Times.
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