Advocates are calling for better training and more discipline after a Houston police officer fatally shot a mentally ill double-amputee in a wheelchair on Saturday, the third unarmed person police have shot in less than three months, says the Houston Chronicle. Matthew Marin, a five-year police veteran, shot and killed Brian Claunch at a personal care home. Police officials stated that Marin – who fatally shot another suspect in 2009 – felt he and his partner were threatened by Claunch, who was waving a silver pen.
Claunch was wheelchair-bound after losing his lower right leg and all of his right arm after being hit by a train. Police were called around 2 a.m. after Claunch became agitated because his caretaker refused to give him a soda and a cigarette. Authorities said Claunch was waving a silver pen, stabbing at the two officers, trapping one in a corner. Officers said the man ignored their commands and threatened them and the occupants of the home before Marin shot him. “How difficult is it, if nothing else, to get away from someone in a wheelchair who has no weapon, has only one arm and one good leg?” asked Arlene Kelly, co-founder of Civilians Down, a support group for victims of police violence that tracks misconduct. “It’s totally and completely needless.”