Target: Houston Chief of Police Martha Montalvo
Goal: Investigate officer accused of shooting an unarmed black man.
A black Houston man was shot and killed by a police officer after the man was accused of damaging a road sign. The man, Peter Gaines, had been celebrating his 37th birthday over the weekend when the incident occurred. His family is devastated and has claimed he was a non-violent person.
Gaines allegedly tore down a road sign, and when officers confronted him and told him to stop, they claim that he charged at them. The attacking officer, who has been identified as “K. Levi,” supposedly used a taser on Gaines twice before pulling out his gun and shooting him. His family has admitted that he may have been on drugs at the time.
Witnesses said the officer was visibly shaken up after the incident, but it still should not have happened. Gaines was unarmed, and the officer was uninjured. It is another case of an officer panicking and resorting to violence all too quickly. The rate of police violence against black and Hispanic men in Houston is disproportionately much higher than against white men, even more so than in most cities.
This is another case of an officer taking the life of a minority with little thought given toward other ways of subduing him. Write to the Houston Chief of Police and demand she launch an investigation into the incident.
Dear Chief Montalvo,
We are writing to demand an investigation into the officer-involved shooting death of Peter Gaines. Gaines was accused of damaging a road sign and charging at officers when confronted. Even with the allegations of his hostility and potential drug use, he should not have been killed. An officer should not have to resort to such violence against someone so quickly.
Gaines was likely unarmed and was celebrating his birthday. Damaging a road sign and becoming confrontational with officers might be worrying, but should never mark someone for death. Officers need to be trained to calm situations down, not to abruptly end them with violence.
The rate of police shootings against minorities in Houston far outweighs that of shootings against white civilians–the proportion is even worse than in most other major cities. This is another example of an officer using their authority and defenses not to serve and protect, but to inflict unnecessary violence against the civilians they are supposed to be protecting. Please launch an investigation into the officer and the incident.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: WhisperToMe