Civil Rights Organization Demands That Police Department Train Officers on De-Escalation of Violence
The South Texas Civil Rights Project (STCRP) is calling for a full and open investigation into the Jan. 4, 2012 deadly shooting by police of a Brownville middle school student. Fifteen-year-old Jaime Gonzalez was shot by Brownsville police officers while allegedly holding a pellet gun at Cummings Middle School. Police claimed that the boy had plenty of time to lower the pellet gun before being fatally shot. STCRP is demanding today that Brownsville Police Department institutes a policy and training program on de-escalation of violence, especially in schools.
STCRP Director Corinna Spencer-Scheurich stated publicly today that Brownsville’s interim police chief, Orlando Rodriguez’s assurances that the deadly force was excusable are not enough to convince the residents of South Texas that the police acted appropriately.
“Within 30 days, Jaime’s family, as well as the students, parents and residents of Brownsville, deserve a full and open investigation into Jaime’s death,” said Spencer-Scheurich.
“Deadly use of force against our children by police officers cannot be excused simply by a claim that Jaime was holding what looked like a dangerous weapon. We need greater accountability from our police forces when they have taken a life, especially one of a child and in a school setting. In the future, de-escalation should be a priority when police respond to potential school violence.
“This is a terrible situation for everyone involved. This tragedy demands that the Brownsville P.D. take steps to assure this never happens again.”
Specifically, STCRP demanded the following response from the Brownsville Police Department:
a. Full and open investigation into the shooting within 30 days;
b. The hiring of an expert in the policy and training of police departments and schools on the use of deadly force;
c. Institution of de-escalation policy and training; and
d. Participation by parents from the Brownsville Independent School District in the investigation and institution of responsive policies and trainings.