Target: Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland
Goal: Condemn the senseless killing of a wheelchair-bound, mentally ill amputee by a police officer and make future efforts to handle the mentally ill properly
A mentally ill, double amputee in a wheelchair named Brian Claunch was recently killed by Houston police officer Matthew Marin. Officers were called to a group home for the mentally ill after Claunch, a man troubled with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, was becoming violent and making threats. When the officers arrived at the group home, Claunch was still acting erratic and aggressive towards them. Marin claimed Claunch posed a threat since he had the other officer trapped in a corner while wielding an ink pen. Marin fired once, hitting Claunch in the head. Claunch was pronounced dead on the scene. Marin has since been placed on administrative leave and the FBI is now investigating the matter.
This killing should not have happened. The responding officers knew they were reporting to a scene involving a mentally ill person. There are officers in the Houston Police Department specially trained to deal with offenders with mental illness. It is unknown if Marin or his partner were trained to deal with the situation, but shooting a man armed with an ink pen in the head is hopefully not standard operating procedure.
Ask Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland to speak out publicly against this shooting and do everything in his power to see that mentally ill people are handled only with proper procedure and by trained individuals. This is not acceptable handling of police procedure and, even if this questionable shooting was an isolated incident, it should be condemned. Chief McClelland needs to speak to and for the department making it clear once and for all that he and the Houston Police Department believe that killing a mentally ill, wheelchair-bound man with one arm and one leg who was absolutely not a threat to life is unacceptable. If McClelland and the department remain silent or come to the conclusion that Marin was justified, it is clear that their values do not reflect that of a peaceful and just society. Urge Chief McClelland to condemn this killing and make sure the mentally ill are only dealt with by specially trained officers.
Dear Chief McClelland,
I, along with most who heard of the tragic death of Brian Claunch, felt appalled, scared, and betrayed at the news. Police departments exist for the protection of the public. As I’m sure you are well aware, many people see the police as hostile aggressors as opposed to keepers of the peace. When things like this happen it lends credence to this thought. No matter the amount of aggression Claunch showed the officers, he was most certainly not a threat to anyone’s life, seeing as he was wheelchair-bound with only one arm and one leg and wielded nothing more than a pen.
The public wants to believe that the police are our protectors as opposed to our oppressors. When anything questionable happens, police departments tend to retreat behind a wall of silence. Of course things cannot be discussed during an ongoing investigation, but it would be a shame if you did not eventually speak out against this act. The people of America speak for the people of Houston when we say “Make us trust you.” You must that in the future mentally ill people are handled properly by trained officers. Also, you must allow the utmost transparency and admit when justice has failed. It is the only way justice can ever prevail.
[Your Name Here]