Grand jury refuses to charge Houston cops for shooting Nicolas Chavez – Houston Public Media
A Harris County grand jury ruled Monday that criminal charges were not warranted for the death of Nicolas Chavez, who was shot more than 20 times by Houston police last year.
Evidence was presented over a four-day period, after which jurors determined that there was no probable reason to charge four officers – Patrick Rubio, Omar Tapia, Luis Alvarado and Sgt. Benjamin LeBlanc – with a felony, according to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
In a statement, Ogg said jurors were offered a range of options throughout the process, including criminally negligent homicide and murder, as well as defense considerations, such as self-defense and self-defense. defense of a third party.
“Civil Rights Division prosecutors presented all the evidence to ensure that the grand jurors were fully informed before making a decision,” the statement said. “Our hearts go out to the Chavez family for the loss of a loved one. We respect the decision of the grand jury.”
In April 2020, Houston police officers and assistants from the Harris County Police Station 6 responded to 911 calls regarding Chavez, who allegedly threw himself in front of cars, court documents showed.
After trying to calm Chavez for several minutes, the police used their Tasers and other non-lethal ammunition against him. Chavez then started walking towards the officers, prompting one of them to fire three shots.
After Chavez fell to the ground, he attempted to shoot a Taser that had fallen towards him by his sons. In response, Rubio, Tapia, Alvarado, and LeBlanc shot Chavez a total of 21 times, killing him.
These four officers were all fired in September 2020 after the release of former HPD chief Art Acevedo body camera images of the 14-minute altercation.
The officers – along with Officer Kevin Nguyen, the City of Houston and the Houston Police Department – were named in a $ 100 million federal lawsuit filed by the Chavez family earlier this year. The lawsuit alleged the officers used excessive force and were following HPD protocol in shooting Chavez, who was suffering from an apparent mental crisis.
A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in July, ruling that he had failed to prove that city politics led to Chavez’s death. The judge also pointed out the redundancy of suing both the city and the police department, and added that the family could sue officers individually, as opposed to their official standing with the department.
Additional reporting by Florian Martin.
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