The Texas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to newly-released footage of Killeen police shooting and killing Patrick Warren, Sr. According to national civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, Warren’s family had called police to ask for a mental health professional; “the family was told a mental health deputy was not available, so a police officer was sent.”
“Patrick Warren, Sr. should be alive today, and our hearts break for his family and loved ones,” said Tanya Rhoades, volunteer leader with Texas Moms Demand Action. “We join with them in demanding an independent and thorough investigation into his death, and changes to the institutions that consistently lead to the death of Black people and other people of color.”
It is essential that law enforcement agencies adopt meaningful use of force policies, which encourage de-escalation, utilize early intervention systems, and ensure that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable.
Research suggests that implementing specific use-of-force policies can save lives. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found adoption of use-of-force reform policies—exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting—was associated with fewer people killed by police.
Black Americans are shot and killed by police at three times the rate of white Americans, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns.