How a Texas Cop Who Killed a Double Amputee Holding a Ballpoint Pen Got Away With It | Alternet
On October 24, the Houston Police Department announced the results of its yearlong investigation into the shooting death of Brian Claunch, a mentally ill double amputee killed by an officer last September after refusing to drop a pen. HPD cleared the officer, Matthew Marin, of any wrongdoing.
At a high school reunion, a friend asked me if we’d really gotten shot at, or if she’d just imagined something over the years since we hadn’t seen each other. The little she could remember was accurate.
I’d refused to give a man my phone number while we were parked in a drive in burger joint on Detroit’s now-notorious Eight Mile Road.
He said I’d better give it to him, or else.
He pulled a gun.
The car was running: I put it in reverse, laid down one patch of rubber getting out of the parking spot, jammed the brakes, put it into drive and laid another patch of rubber exiting the parking lot. I slowed down to the speed limit on Eight Mile, thinking we were safe.
We weren’t. The man and a friend were soon on our tail, and one was firing at us. I told my friend to get down and stay down. I was a good kid, but no angel behind the wheel – high speed was second nature.
Eight Mile was a straight shot; they stayed on us. I lost them taking the sharp turns on the Eastland Mall Service Drive with tires squealing (which I’d done more than once for no reason).
I dropped my friend off at her home; her parents were relieved. Mine were angry. There was a bullet ding in the bumper, which – to them – was obviously my fault.
This isn’t my only unimaginary gun story from being 17. At a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, a guy showed up at the door with a gun, apparently under the impression it was his ticket in to see his former girlfriend. It wasn’t.
When I was younger, someone thought I deserved to have a BeeBee lodged in my face, apparently unhappy over getting in trouble previously for somehow shooting between my toes, managing only to puncture my tennis shoe and lodge a BeeBee inside it.
When I was older, an officer snuck up behind me and put his gun to my head, thinking I was the look-out for a mall jewelry store robber. The robber was just my new-to-management boss, who’d let himself into the store alone, somehow thinking he was fast enough to turn off the two-person alarm system.
Today’s officers are too-frequently feigning less ability to judge the presence of danger and/or evade danger than a 17-year-old, and deep trauma from single incidents that I didn’t accumulate over several.
They’re getting away with murder, and it’s time for it to stop.