The Houston Police Officers Union is taking the lead in the fundraising effort to help four fellow HPD officers who were unjustly fired. They have appealed but They need the funds to support their families during this process.
The Union believes all members will put themselves in the shoes of these brothers and give what they can to help. More than $70,000 was raised in the first few days of accepting donations.
“On April 21, HPD Officers Luis Alvarado, Omar Tapia, Patrick Rubio along with Sgt. Benjamin LeBlanc, responded to a “Suicide in Progress.” When these officers arrived, Nicolas Chavez was found stabbing himself with a sharp object over and over again.
To save his life, officers deployed multiple rounds with two different bean bag shotguns – used to incapacitate a person from a long distance. Three different Taser guns were used in hopes that he would drop the knife and comply. Mr. Chavez refused to do so.
At one-point Mr. Chavez charged officers with the knife, forcing them to discharge their firearms. During this chaos, an officer’s Taser was dropped on the ground and she tried to kick it under a car.
Mr. Chavez then picked up the Taser gun and pointed it at the officers, forcing them again to discharge their duty weapons at him. Mr. Chavez would later succumb to his injuries. Mr. Chavez was clearly wanting to end his life, either by his hands or by the hands of HPD officers. At several different times he begged the officers to charge him.
A thorough investigation was completed, and the case was forwarded to the department’s administrative discipline committee. This committee is comprised of four citizens and seven members of the department, all chosen by Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Art Acevedo. Being chosen by the administration, the members of this discipline committee typically lean towards harsher discipline. The police union selects one officer on the committee.
Six out of the 10 committee members present said that the officers’ actions were justified, and they should not be disciplined. Among the six members were all four civilians. Three members recommended some discipline and/or further training. The only member that voted to fire the officers was the assistant chief over ADC, who is not only placed on the committee by the chief but also appointed to his rank by the chief. It appears he was likely given orders from Chief Acevedo about how to vote in the committee.
The case then went to the Independent Police Oversight board, IPOB.
IPOB is comprised of citizens selected by the mayor and Chief Acevedo to review discipline cases. Not only did all members of the IPOB vote to exonerate these officers of wrongdoing, but they wrote Chief Acevedo a 14-page letter explaining their actions and criticizing the chief for not providing more training to the officers before this incident.
Activist Chief Art Acevedo fired all four officers for purely political reasons. These are four hard-working officers that put their own lives on the line when they attempted to save Mr. Chavez’s life so that they could take him to get psychiatric care.
They pleaded with him for 15 minutes to surrender peacefully and utilized every non-lethal weapon at their disposal. These officers have all been fired and have no source of income and will be under intense scrutiny from a very dishonest media.
Please help support these heroes and show your support for GOOD police officers.
The four unjustly fired officers are appealing their firings and need support to pay their mortgages, bills, and take care of their families while they go through the process.