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Texas Cop Shoots and Kills Mentally ill Man Holding a Spoon

shot-because-of-a-spoon  Texas Cop Shoots and Kills Mentally ill Man Holding a Spoon shot because of a spoon

Dennis Grigsby

In what has become an all too common occurrence, a Texas police officer in Texarkana lacking courage and common sense shot and killed Dennis Grigsby, a 35 year old man holding a spoon for no reason whatsoever [1] [10] [11] [12] On December 15, 2014 at approximately 2:00 am, Texarkana Texas Police Department responded to a burglary in progress call where the suspect was inside the garage of a residence near the 2700 block of Page Street, stated TTPD spokesman Aaron Brower. [4] The resident advised dispatch that the suspect was using some sort of tool to break out a window to gain entry in to the residence. An officer arrived on scene and approached the residence’s garage, which had a large tarp covering the entry. When the officer entered the garage he found Grigsby in a “dimly lit” garage.  [2] [9] He lived in his mother’s home across the street.   Grigsby’s mother, Evelyn Grigsby, said he had a mentall illness, though it has not yet been specified what it was. [3] Police say her son was holding a “7-inch metal object that looked like a knife” and began “aggressively” approaching the officer. [3] [8] [9] [10] According to the police story, he ignored commands to stop, prompting the officer to shoot him. Dennis Grigsby, 35, of Texarkana, Texas was taken to St. Michael Hospital where he later died. His body has been sent to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science for an autopsy, stated Brower. [4]  This police narrative follows one that is all too common: no matter the situation, police claim that they were forced to attack suspects. Adopting a “shoot first ask questions later” approach, they promote the idea that if a suspect was doing something illegal, they deserved whatever the officer did to them. Usually the officers claim their lives were threatened, people were acting dangerously, and that because of this, they bear no responsibility for the deaths of the people with whom they interact.  Never mind that the Texas officer could have used other, less lethal methods to stop Grigsby’s advances or that even in a “dimly lit” room, the round edge of a spoon looks nothing like a pointed knife. Police claim he was holding the round edge in his hand with the handle pointing up, but at best, this resembles a butter knife.   [2] At the very least, police departments should employ officers with decent vision. At most, they should fire those cowards who jump to use lethal violence when it is entirely unnecessary.   Fortunately, however, police talking points are becoming less and less believable to the public. The Grigsby family lives across the street from where the burglary call and killing took place.  The mother of Grigsby, Evelyn Grigsby, went on record that her son suffered from “mental illness,” according to News West 9. She went on to say:

They just told me that they shot him in his chest. They said they couldn’t tell me anything else. I’m just sick. I just can’t believe this.  My son wouldn’t hurt nobody, he ain’t had no guns or nothing. [1]

Grigsby’s stepfather, R. Robinson, added that Grigsby,

Didn’t pose a danger to nobody… he just wanted help and we couldn’t help him. [1] [8]

Lawing remains on paid administrative leave as the Texas Rangers investigate the shooting. A Texarkana Police Department spokesman said Lawing has been with the department as a patrol officer three years and has a total of seven years of law enforcement experience. [2]  Police Chief Dan Shiner posted a brief message about the shooting on the department’s Facebook page today.  “The men and women of the Texarkana Texas Police Department join the community and the family of Mr. Dennis Grigsby during this time of mourning,” the message said.

This was a tragic event that has adversely impacted a loving family, our citizens, neighborhood victims and members of our own department. It is our desire that our transparency, honesty, and integrity during the examination of this event will serve to separate our community from others, and that it will bolster community confidence in their police department. [2]

Similar stories of officers harming citizensparticularly the mentally illhave surfaced in the last several months.   In November, a Florida cop killed a man whose mother called the police to help him take his medication. [5] Then there was the recent case of a Utah man that called a suicide prevention hotline for help, police responded with a SWAT team, eventually killing the man. [21] In Cleveland, police slammed a bi-polar woman’s head against cement, killing her for “disturbing the peace.” [6] A group of Michigan cops opened fire on a mentally ill homeless man, executing him firing squad-style.  [7] The case of schizophrenic homeless man Kelly Thomas, who was beaten to death by multiple cops, is infamous for the jury’s refusal to convict the officers.  [13] They were caught on video bludgeoning the man, who was crying for his father.   Apparently, police are “poorly trained” to deal with the mentally ill (some claim this is the reason cops kill so many of them, though this does not explain the rates of murder by cops of other demographics). [14] But as the case of Dennis Grigsby shows, police are quick to react to weapons that are not actually weapons.   A Colorado man was arrested for pointing a banana at police, who claimed they thought he was pointing a gun. [15] Cops are notorious for shooting when people they stop reach to their pockets for their wallets. [16] John Crawford [17] and Tamir Rice [18] were both killed for holding toy guns.   It is increasingly apparent that cops use unmitigated authority and violence against the weakest and most disenfranchised in society. As repulsive as it may be, however, awareness is steadily growing and intolerance for such outlandish displays of police aggression is snowballing. [19] [20] By sharing stories like this, as tragic as they are, people can begin to take back control of our system, and hold those that would abuse the public trust, accountable for their actions. Contrary to the belief of some in law enforcement, a badge does not grant a license to kill.  [22] Americans will no longer stand idly by and allow the victimization of our communities at the hands of those entrusted to enforce the law. [9]

[1] Police: Texas Officer Kills Man Holding Spoon, News West 9, Dec 16, 2014 11:26 AM
[3] Police: Texas officer kills man holding spoon, SF Gate, Tuesday, December 16, 2014
[4] Field Walsh, Officer Involved Shooting on Page Street Leaves Man Dead, TXK, Today, Dec 15, 2014
[6] Brandon Blackwell, Cleveland woman with mental illness died after police used takedown move, brother says, Cleveland.com, November 13, 2014 at 8:03 PM
[7] Stephen A. Crockett Jr., Michigan Police Fatally Shoot Homeless Man, Firing 46 Shots, The Root, Oct. 29 2014 8:29 AM
[8] Jessica Chasmar, Texas police fatally shoot mentally ill man holding spoon, The Washington Times,  Tuesday, December 16, 2014
[9] Jay Syrmopoulos, Texas Officer Shoots, Kills Mentally Ill Man Holding a Spoon, Free Thought Project, December 17, 2014
[10]  Police: Texas Officer Kills Man Holding Spoon, DFW CBC Local, December 16, 2014 8:08 AM
[12] Police: Texas officer kills man holding spoon, My San Antonio, December 16, 2014
[13] Chuck Conder, Ex-cops acquitted in beating death of homeless man in California, CNN, 8:48 AM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
[14] SE Smith, US police need proper training in mental health, The Guardian, Wednesday 14 July 2010 11.30 BST
[15] Joel Landau, Colorado man arrested after pointing banana at officers like a gun, New York Daily News, Wednesday, November 26, 2014, 11:04 AM
[16] Joanna Rothkopf, Horrific new video shows cop shooting black man reaching for his drivers license, Salon, Friday, Sep 26, 2014 01:28 PM
[18] Tamir Rice’s mother: son shot before he could comply with police orders, The Guardian,  Monday 15 December 2014 23.24 GMT
[21] Jay Syrmopoulos, Man Calls a Suicide Prevention Hotline, SWAT Team Shows Up and Kills Him, The Free Thought Project, October 23, 2014

About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.

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