No Charges Brought Against Cop Accused Of Fatally Shooting Black Veteran Damian Daniels
The 30-year-old's mom said her son "never moved or said anything for you to attack him like that."
December 22, 2021 at 10:12 pm
A Texas grand jury opted not to charge Sheriff's Deputy John Rodriguez for the Aug. 2020 killing of Damian Daniels, a veteran, Newsweek reports.
Rodriguez and two other officers, including Sheriff Javier Salazar, were responding to a mental health call made by Daniels' brother, Brendan, out of concern for his paranoia. Bexar County Sheriff’s Office later released body camera footage of the officers dispatched to Daniels’ home.
Salazar said that a total of four mental health calls were made on Daniels’ behalf, according to My San Antonio. Once the officers arrived at the home in San Antonio, Daniels appeared to have a weapon around his waistband and a disgruntled look on his face. After a 2-minute struggle ensued between the 30-year-old Alabama native and officers, Daniels was shot twice and killed.
Daniels' mother, Annette Watkins, responded to the announcement of the grand jury deciding not to press charges, saying, "[Damian] never moved or said anything for you to attack him like that."
Watkins plans to pursue other legal action to ensure her son gets justice.
"As long as we have other things that are available that we can access and there are other charges that we can file, it’s not over," she said, News 4 San Antonio reports.
Lee Merritt, the attorney for Daniels' family, said that the officers "committed a crime under the fourth amendment of the Constitution."
The veteran’s case sparked outrage from Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, prompting the creation of an efficacy plan around officers' response to mental health calls, KSAT 12 reports. The program, which took effect on Oct. 1, routes all mental health calls to a mental health unit in order to help de-escalate scenarios incidents.
"This country needs to do a better job of helping those in mental health crisis. We have reviewed the video with the Daniels family and have informed them of the Grand Jury's decision,” Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said in a press release.
“As I have stated in the past, every officer-involved shooting in Bexar County resulting in serious injury or death will be decided by a Grand Jury,” Gonzales added.