The process of making an arrest can be stressful for both the officer and suspect alike, and we all know that one wrong movement or assumption on either side can lead to fatal circumstances. Unfortunately, in many cases we’ve seen lately, authority figures have been the trigger-happy ones.
That was the sad case for Damian Daniels, a Black military veteran who was shot to death in front of his home in Texas while suffering from a mental episode during his arrest. To make matters worse, the cop who killed him will not be charged after a grand jury on Monday chose not to indict Bexar County Deputy John Rodriguez.
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, the candidate for Texas attorney general whose law firm had been representing Daniels’ family, tweeted the news on Monday.
Merritt added in a subsequent tweet, “t’s time for Texas to take the mental health crisis seriously.”
On Aug. 25, 2020, Rodriguez and other deputies approached Daniels after receiving a welfare check request from his brother. Even with prior knowledge of Daniels’ mental condition and the fact that he was suffering from “paranoia” as his brother told the dispatcher, deputies still approached him without a mental health professional. As they tried to talk with him and inquire about a bulge protruding from under his shirt, things appeared to escalate into a more volatile situation as officers proceeded to rush him in order to apprehend him. Following a shot from one officer’s Taser, a struggle ensued for what allegedly was a gun underneath Daniels’ shirt. After multiple electrical shocks from more than one Taser, deputy Rodriguez then proceeded to fire a round of gunshots that eventually led to his death.
At the time of the shooting, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar attempted to justify his officers’ deadly response and said they were defending themselves against Daniels, who he described as the aggressor.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office released the bodycam footage on YouTube, which we’ve chosen not to repost due to the intense nature depicted in the footage.
During a news release, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales referred to the death of Daniels, a combat veteran, as “tragic,” going on to add, “This country needs to do a better job of helping those in mental health crisis. We have reviewed the video with the Daniels family and have informed them of the Grand Jury’s decision. As I have stated in the past, every officer-involved shooting in Bexar County resulting in serious injury or death will be decided by a Grand Jury.”
According to San Antonio Report, Damian’s brother, Brendan Daniels, says the family will release a statement soon and also wrote in a text message, “We are taking this time to reflect and work on our next move with proceeding forward with Damian’s case.”
Due to the grand jury choosing not to indict, Rodriguez is now exempt from facing felony criminal charges at the state level.
This is America.