City Honors Slain Teen

It was a case that resulted in a million dollar settlement and a change in policy for the Houston Police Department. Today a memorial plaque was unveiled in honor of 14 year old Eli Escobar who was shot accidentally by a Houston police officer five years ago. Bill Stamps has the story.
"We are here to celebrate the historic act of reconciliation..."

It was exactly five years ago that 14 year old Eli Escobar was shot and killed by a Houston police officer. Two officers had gone to an apartment complex to investigate an assault. They questioned three teenagers including Eli and concluded they were not involved. But at some point Escobar had to be restrained. The two officers struggled with him on the ground. After allegedly being kicked in the groin, one officer pulled out his gun.  It went off and struck Escobar in the head.

A school band played Friday morning as a a plaque was unveiled at Guadalupe Plaza Park next to the apartments where Eli was shot. The plaque was part of the legal settlement between the Escobar family and the city of Houston.

"Me and my wife wanted a remembrance of my son to help other children for this never to happen again."

One change they've implemented to make sure it doesn't happen again is what's called the Escobar rule — named after Eli. It states that no officer can put his hand on the trigger until he decides to shoot. With that new rule Eli Senior believes his son's death was not in vain.

"Mistake do happen. They need to be corrected. I believe on the Escobar rule, I believe that training, discipline and stress training will make the city of Houston more better and the police police department.  And to take care of our  …and to handle our children more safely."

The officer who shot Eli served two months in jail and resigned from the force. He maintained the shooting was accidental. As for the memorial plaque that sits on the ground in Elis memory, it reads: "May he rest in hope and rise in glory".

Bill Stamps, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.