HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Four Houston police officers who were fired from their jobs last year in the wake of the killing of an unarmed man during a mental episode will not be criminally charged in the case.
On Monday, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced a grand jury issued a “no bill” against the former officers in the deadly shooting of Nicolas Chavez. According to the district attorney’s office, the “no bill” signified that the panel of community members determined there was no probable cause to charge anyone with a crime.
Chavez died on April 21, 2020, when police responded to a call of a suicidal person running in and out of traffic.
Four officers opened fired at least 21 times when they confronted him. Police claim Chavez, who was unarmed, ignored commands and threatened officers, even going for an officer’s stun gun.
Then-Chief Art Acevedo responded to the growing outrage of the shooting, terminating the officers five months after the shooting happened.
The grand jury determination came after the Civil Rights Division of the district attorney’s office presented evidence over a four-day period.
“In officer-involved shootings, grand jurors have a range of options, from criminally negligent homicide to murder, and range of defense considerations, including self-defense and defense of a third person,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “Civil Rights Division prosecutors presented all the evidence to ensure grand jurors were fully informed prior to making a decision.”
Ogg went on to explain, “The primary question for a grand jury in a police shooting is, ‘did officers act reasonably?’ Grand jurors are supposed to apply the law to the facts and reach a decision on probable cause. We use this process to ensure that the community decides whether or not police should be charged in on-duty killings.”
With no charges on the horizon, the former officers are expected to head to arbitration in a bid to rejoin the department.
Eyewitness News is reaching out to Chavez’s family in the wake of the grand jury determination.