Outrage Continues Over Officer Involved Shooting Of Double-Amputee

Pictured left to right: Community activists Shelby Stewart, attorney Randall Kallinen speaking, and Johnny Mata with Greater Houston Coalition for Justice, looking over papers
The death of a double-amputee fatally shot last weekend by a Houston police officer is still getting strong reaction from community activists. They're again calling for an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office.

Activists claim an HPD officer over-reacted last Saturday, when he shot and killed a 45 yr old man who was threatening he and his partner with what turned out to be a pen. According to an initial police report, officer Matthew Marin confronted double-amputee Brian Claunch at a group home in the east end. When he refused police orders to drop the object, Marin shot him. This is civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen:

“Why didn’t the officer use the individual CIT training he had, the Crisis Intervention Training? What we have here is a complete failure of the government in training, policies and then in total secrecy, of excessive force cases and shootings.”

Shelby Stewart was a Houston Police officer for 28 years before he became a community activist. He said he had to discharge his weapon twice during his career:

“I was being shot at both times, so I was trying to protect my life. My partner got shot in one of those situations, but first of all, if you’re so scary that you’re gonna put a bullet in a man cause he’s holding up a pen and he has one leg and one arm, then you probably don’t have any business being a police officer in the first place.”

Johnny Mata with the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice, says the incident should alarm the community:

"We have asked the Department of Justice to do a comprehensive investigation, we are also seeking a citizen review board.”

But Houston Mayor Annise Parker says she has confidence in the investigation that’s now underway:

“We investigate our own, we have a citizen oversight board that also looks over the shoulders of our investigators. The chief immediately called the FBI and alerted the Justice Department to what had happened, and invited them to observe the investigation.”

Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, agrees with the mayor and called the shooting unfortunate:

“I don’t believe that you’re gonna have inconsistencies in the investigation. I believe it’s gonna show that it was a tragic situation for this suspect, for officer Marin and for everybody involved. I’m sure officer Marin wishes he had never been called to that night by the able-bodied care worker, who could not care for this belligerent, out of control, double amputee.”

Hunt says he wants the different investigative agencies to scrutinize the incident, and to ensure that there was nothing that could have been done differently.

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Pat Hernandez

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Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...