HOUSTON (AP) – Houston police officers initially seemed to be doing everything right during their April encounter with a man in the midst of a mental health crisis. But when the man picked up a stun gun, the officers killed him with a barrage of 21 bullets.
Officers can be heard on body-camera footage trying to de-escalate the situation by keeping their distance and reassuring Nicholas Chavez, a 27-year-old with a history of mental illness, that “we want to get you the medical help you need.” But Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said for the things the officers initially did right, those were invalidated when they ignored their training by charging forward rather than retreating, even though the stun gun ultimately posed no threat to them.
Law enforcement and mental health experts said Friday that Chavez’s death highlights the problems with having officers be the only ones who respond in situations where someone is having a mental crisis. The