‘The department failed these officers’: Police union outraged over firing of officers involved in fatal shooting

HOUSTON – The Houston Police Officer’s Union held a news conference to discuss the firing of four officers involved in the shooting of Nicolas Chavez, calling the decision made by Houston police Chief Art Acevedo “unjust and deplorable.”

According to HPOU president Joe Grimaldi, Chavez’s death was tragic but the shooting was justified.

“What happened to Nicolas Chavez was a tragedy,” Grimaldi said. “(He was) a man who was clearly struggling from mental illness or a possible overdose and as a result forced our officers into a suicide-by-cop scenario.”

Grimaldi said the officers who responded to the scene did everything people across the country have been asking police to do, including doing everything they could to deescalate and retreat for 15 minutes before the shooting.

“They used every non-lethal option available ... all while giving verbal commands to Mr. Chavez to give up peacefully,” Grimaldi said. “They begged and pleaded with Mr. Chavez to give up for the entire 15 minutes and to no avail. As Mr. Chavez stated several times, he wanted the officers to shoot and kill him.”

HPOU vice president, Doug Griffith — who was called to the scene following the shooting — echoed that sentiment.

According to Griffith, the officers involved were young officers and had not been on the force long. They were distraught at having to shoot a civilian, and even Acevedo agreed they followed protocol and it was “obviously suicide by cop,” Griffith said.

Griffith believed Acevedo’s tune changed due to political presser that “obviously he can’t handle.”

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