[Warning: Video is disturbing.]
The family of a Texas man who was shot and killed by a police officer is demanding that the officer who killed him be arrested. They say they called for help requesting that a mental health professional arrive at the scene, not a police officer. Killeen police acknowledge that Officer Reynaldo Contreras shot and killed Patrick Lynn Warren, Sr., 52 during a mental illness call, but they’re mum on whether they think the officer’s actions were an illegal use of force.
Recently released video shows the incident. As seen on the footage, Warren Sr. approached the officer, waving his arms.
As police previously said, an officer was dispatched to Warren’s home regarding a psychiatric call. Police described Warren as “emotionally distressed.” Contreras initially used a taser, according to the official story. It did not work, so the officer used his gun.
“The male was transported by paramedics to the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and later succumbed to his injuries,” police said. “He was pronounced deceased by medical personnel and Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke.”
Warren’s family says Contreras should not have been there in the first place. They said previous calls for a mental health professional did not result in police arriving at the scene, according to CBS News. Instead, Contreras arrived this time.
“They never told us that one wasn’t available,” Warren’s son, Patrick Warren, Jr., told the outlet. “They just sent out a Killeen police officer.”
Warren Jr. said the family told Contreras to leave after he exhibited a hostile demeanor, but he returned. Warren Sr. answered the door, hands in the air.
“The only reason we got up and walked to the door was because we saw an infrared beam from a taser on the door which concerned us,” Warren Jr. said. “We heard a pop. We got up. We ran to the door. By the time we made it outside, my father was on the ground, and that’s where everything kind of took place.”
In a statement released through family attorney S. Lee Merritt, Warren’s wife, Bobbie Warren, asserted that was “more than enough probable cause” to arrest Contreras.
We demand the immediate arrest of Reynaldo Contreras. Presser today at Bell County District Attorney office. pic.twitter.com/od1OzoALAy
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 14, 2021
The case lands on a cultural fissure amid an ongoing national debate over how law enforcement treats people of color. Warren Sr. was Black.
Police say the Texas Rangers are investigating, and the KPD is running a separate Internal Affairs investigation. Contreras is said to be on administrative leave.
“This incident is rightfully of great concern to the community,” Police Chief Charles Kimble said in a statement. “As Killeen Police Chief, it is my duty to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted so that all parties, including the public, have the answers they seek. There are many more facts in this case that are not publicly available at this time. I assure you that more information will be made available as soon as appropriate, and I ask for your patience as both investigations proceed.”
[Screengrab via Warren family]
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