On August 28 of this year, Gilbert Fkores was shot to death by two Bexar County Texas Sheriff’s Deputies. The shooting was captured on video by a witness. The video appears to show Flores raise his hands in the air, as if to surrender. Two shots ring out and kill Flores. According to Bexar County Sheriff’s reports, Flores attacked the deputies and was then shot to death when he refused to drop the knife. The video footage of Flores is partially obscured so you cannot determine if he had a knife or not at the time of the shooting. We seem to be faced again with the harsh reality of prosecuting cops. For a number of reasons, it just doesn’t ever seem to happen.
According to reports, “Suspect attacked the officers with a knife and was shot by the officers after the suspect refused to drop the knife. Suspect resisted arrest.” This is not what we see in the video, however in a weird twisted world that only criminal justice workers understand, that sentence solely and legally justifies everything that happened that day. Quite a short and vague summary, I know. The problem is with the fine details. With all use of force incidents, one of the fine details that prosecutors heavily rely on is the officer’s state of mind at the time of the incident. Although we may look at a video and know that Gilbert Flores was surrendering at the time of his death, that may or may not be reflected in the state of mind of the officer at the time. This is a crazy concept to wrap your head around. I mean there is only one reality right, and this time it is captured on video. While this is the reality we all observe, that may not have been the reality perceived by the officers at the time. When questioned, the officer simply has to demonstrate that based on the information he had at the time, he had a reasonable fear that his life was in danger. People are wrong all the time. Cops can be wrong about how they feel in regards to circumstances they are thrust into. State Attorneys will look to this perception for an excuse to dismiss a case.
In this case, the DA opted to send charges to a grand jury. The entire grand jury system is a fraud, as DA’s can file a charge at any time if the evidence supports it. Based on the video evidence alone, there was sufficient probable cause to file murder charges. To make a quick comparison, this case is almost identical to the shooting of James Boyd, a New Mexico homeless man by Albuquerque Police. The Flores shooting also exemplifies the hypocrisy of the justice system. Boyd was shot while surrendering to police. The officers involved were subsequently brought up on voluntary manslaughter charges. This case is no different yet only one state away, two deputies who committed the same atrocity will walk free. The failure to indict by the grand jury should have been predictable. Once a case hits the grand jury, odds are it will be a wash. Hopefully the family will at least find justice in the civil trial, as a law suit is currently pending.