A Texas police officer said he had “no choice” but to shoot an unarmed Black man who charged at him after repeated warnings and a failure of communication, according to a report.
New bodycam footage reveals the full exchange between Killeen Police Officer Reynaldo Contreras and Patrick Warren Sr., 52, after the officer responded to a call at around 5:40 p.m. on Jan. 10.
Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble showed the footage to members of the press on Tuesday, saying he didn’t see how Contreras “could’ve done anything else,” according to FOX 44.
Warren’s family called for a mental health officer, but Contreras instead responded. Warren emerged from the home and approached Contreras, who Tasered him after cautioning the man, according to reports.
Contreras then reportedly shot Warren three times after the man ripped the Taser prongs off and continued to charge the officer. Warren died later that day.
When his fellow officers arrived on the scene, Contreras said, “I had no choice man, damn it,” according to authorities.
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“I can’t imagine putting myself in Officer Contreras’ shoes because I believe this video shows he waited till the last possible second to use force,” Kimble told reporters, according to KCEN TV.
Kimble said a woman who identified herself as Bobbie Warren called 911 and asked for a mental health deputy but also said Warren was being aggressive and “almost physical” with their son.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for Patrick Warren’s family, said Warren was in the midst of a “mental health crisis” and the man had voluntarily gone to a hospital the day before the shooting. He returned home and later developed manic symptoms, which prompted Sunday’s call, Merritt said.
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“Instead of that same resource officer who had helped before, they sent Reynaldo Contreras,” Merritt said. “The officer had a hostile demeanor and was not prepared to deal with a mental health crisis … [the incident] continued to escalate. [Warren] was within his rights to reject the services of this law enforcement officer.”
Merritt commended the police department for releasing the footage, saying the video did not change the case much, FOX 44 reported.
“Not much about how we view the case has changed now that we see additional evidence,” Merritt told reporters. “The department of Killeen and Killeen PD has demonstrated more of who they are, that the facts as they are they are living to live with, and I don’t think the people of Killeen would agree with that.”
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Contreras is on paid leave pending an investigation of the shooting by Texas Rangers, Kimble told reporters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.