Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues
HOUSTON- A shocking secret video was revealed showing full details and audio of a Fort Bend County Sheriff Deputy shooting and killing Michael Garrett Blair – a mental health patient back in November 2013.
Surrounded by five U.S. Marshals, a dozen Houston Police officers and four policemen watching on horseback, Activist Quanell X, of the New Black Panther Nation & New Black Muslims leader, Pastor Ronald Smith of New Mount Calvary Baptist Church, and Kofi Taharka, Chairman National Black United Front-Houston unveiled and revealed the damning tape to the press in front of the Federal Building of Justice downtown.
“This was indeed a cold blooded killing,” Quanell X said. “This man did not have to die. All he needed was some help.”
Freedom fighters are calling for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice to open investigations in the case to see if the deceased Blair’s civil rights were violated and are seeking strong protocols in place to protect those suffering mental illness crisis and emergencies from being killed by police.
The 911 call for help turned deadly and was captured on hidden video inside the residence on November 4, 2013 at 7014 Dawn Bloom, Richmond, TX. 77469.
The 20-minute video shows a cruel demonstration of excessive force and shows that the shooting was not necessary, and that the deputy’s actions were completely uncalled for.
While the victim, a 26-year old, Blair, was already wounded by gun shots was laying on the floor, the officer stood over him and commenced shooting eleven (11) more times with eight (8) of those shots to the head in this gruesome video. Blair was pronounced dead at the scene.
Community leaders, Kimberly Blair-Olaniyi –(Michael’s mother), and other family members stood in solidarity tearful, emotional and reliving the horror and tragedy of seeing their loved one gunned down by those sworn to protect and serve. Family members want the whole truth told about the shooting and that justice be done.
“We want him to think about what he did,” Olaniyi said. “We are asking that people recognize what we recognize and that it was brutal, unnecessary and that my son did not deserve death.”
According to family members and sounds from the video, the shooting happened over their cries and appeals to talk to Blair and their emotional appeals to police officers.
The video raises questions about the ability of law enforcement officers to adequately deal with and handle emergency calls involving the mentally challenged or mentally ill in crisis.
Video details unveil the incidents before and after the shooting. It also shows how the shooting took place as the family, who was in the house at the time, watched in horror as the officer repeatedly fired his weapon into the body of their relative who had been tasered several times and had fallen to the floor before the officer fired his weapon – the video clearly shows.
“We stand with the family and want to see justice for Michael Blair,” Taharka said. “Black people have had it too hard when dealing with police. The family may forgive him, but the community will not forgive him.”
Pastor Ronald Smith said safety measures are needed to prevent a repeat of this tragedy.
“The video is one of the most horrifying and chilling things I have ever seen,” Smith said. “A man crying out for help doesn’t need a bullet in return. Mental Health officials must get involved and press for changes that will make a difference and protect those in crisis like Blair was.”
Smith too is calling for a full investigation and justice in the case.
According to Quanell X, the video allegedly exposes that the officers committed perjury to the grand jury about the shooting, and gave false statements to the media and public.
Law enforcement officials were totally unaware of this shooting video, and a hand delivered copy of this videotape to Kenneth Magidson, U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Texas.
“If you have a loved on with a mental health issue and you call the police, you might as well call the funeral home,” Quanell X said. “These police are not prepared to handle things properly and will come in guns blazing.”
Other information is expected to come forward and more details about that fateful day will be coming soon, Quanell X said.