A Texas police chief is defending the officer who shot and killed a Black man while he was suffering from a mental episode.
On Jan. 10, Officer Reynaldo Contreras — incapable of handling a mental health crisis — arrived at Patrick Warren Sr.’s home after his family requested assistance from a mental health professional.
According to recently-released body cam footage of the encounter, Contreras enters the house and quickly exits after Warren yells at him and walks in his direction. He tells the him to lie down and warns he will use his taser, but Warren continues to approach him. The officer eventually tases the Black man who falls, gets up again and advances toward him once more, causing him to pull out his firearm and shoot. Warren passed away at a local hospital as a result of the gunshot wounds.
As CNN reported, a mental health deputy was sent to Warren’s home the day before (Jan. 9) the shooting, but he turned down the offer to receive treatment during an overnight stay at the hospital. When the family made another request to see a mental health professional, Contreras was dispatched to the home instead.
“It was a call for a psychiatric person,” Police Chief Charles Kimble said. “But as the call taker was listening to the caller, if certain things are said, or certain things are heard, then it prompts a different response…It prompted a police response, and it prompted a response from fire and medics who were standing by.”
In regards to the cop’s handling of Warren, he added, “I don’t see where he could have done anything else. I saw an officer try to handle a call, de-escalate a call. Given the same set of circumstances, I just don’t know what else we could do.”
Contreras is currently out on paid leave as the Texas Rangers conduct an investigation. Warren’s family and attorneys are calling for his termination.