|Mothers Against Police Brutality calls no-bill in the
killing of Ruben Garcia a “moral failure”
Dallas, Texas, May 18, 2015-
Now that the dash-cam video has been released, the public can see one more preventable death at the hands of local police. Ruben Garcia was shot to death on February 20 by Grapevine police officer Robert Clark, as Garcia walked slowly toward the officer holding his hands on top of his head. The video reveals that Garcia was trying, despite being inebriated, to surrender. His hands are constantly visible once he leaves the car — up in the air, on his head, behind his back (as if asking to be cuffed), then on his head again.
At about 5:40 (five minutes, forty seconds) into the dash-cam tape, Garcia begins to walk toward the officer with his hands on top of his head. At 5:46 Garcia has his back to the officer. At 5:49 Garcia turns toward the officer, walking slowly, his hands still on his head. At 6:14 Officer Clark fires the two fatal shots. Where is the officer’s Taser? Where is his training in apprehending an unarmed suspect without deadly force? Hasn’t he ever hand-cuffed an intoxicated driver before? Where is the use of proportional force, i.e., relative to what the suspect is using (in this case, none) or how strongly a suspect is resisting (in this case, not at all), that is part of standard deadly force policy?
Closely following the no-bill in Dallas County in the killing of Jason Harrison, and the high-profile cases in Ferguson and New York, this no-bill is one more link in the chain of unaccountable police violence against the public. There is a larger issue that the political leadership here and in Washington refuses to face. This consistent failure to even seek a trial in police shootings of unarmed and mentally ill suspects is an ethical failure, an ongoing moral disaster that is subverting the social contract across the country. In Tarrant County, an officer can with impunity gun down an unarmed man, an immigrant, holding his hands on his head.
In Dallas County, two officers can with impunity gun down a mentally ill black man standing on his porch holding a screwdriver. What is the life of a Mexican immigrant worth? What is the life of an African-American man with a history of mental illness worth? What are their lives worth, that local police can kill them almost at will? Local government officials are evidently powerful enough to control the grand jury process — but they will find soon enough that they cannot control the consequences of a broken social contract.