EL PASO, TEXAS – March 8, 2013 is a day Jim Jopling said his client, El Paso police officer Jose Flores, will never forget.
"It was a very unfortunate situation," Jopling said.
Jopling, an attorney with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), said on that day Flores was involved in an altercation where he accidentally pulled the trigger and killed bodybuilder Daniel Saenz.
It all started when Saenz had been arrested that day on assault charges after allegedly attacking an off-duty police officer and staff at Del Sol Medical Center, where he had been taken after he was found exhibiting bizarre behavior at an Alberstons supermarket on Yarbrough Drive.
This week, the City of El Paso released video of the deadly police shooting after the El Paso Times requested the video back in February after the grand jury declined to indict Officer Jose Flores in the shooting.
The Texas attorney general ordered the city to comply with the open-records request.
The video begins where you can see Flores and a prison transport guard dragging Saenz on the floor.
Saenz was being taken to a hospital for treatment after repeatedly banging his head against a doorway inside the jail.
But Jopling says before the video begins, Saenz was able to front his cuffs on his own and dress himself cuffed up.
"He sat down and he was able to maneuver his handcuffs in front of his body, just like that -- apparently pretty easy," Jopling said.
Once they get outside, the struggle continues.
Jopling pointed out Saenz gains a foothold on the curb of the driveway.
"Once he gets his feet on the curb, my client is reaching for his Taser, and at that point he remembers Mr. Saenz had been tased earlier in the day," Jopling said.
Flores then decided to pull his handgun instead.
Jopling points out in the video that Mr. Saenz gains a foothold on the curb and sends the civilian flying backwards.
"And his (the civilian's) hand hits my clients gun hand and the gun goes off," Jopling said.
Jopling said Officer Flores is now being accused of violating a policy and using lethal force when he wasn't supposed to.
However, the attorney added that there wasn't much else Officer Flores could have done.
"Strikes to the head would have hurt him more I think," Jopling said. "At the very minimum under those circumstances the show of force with a gun is what is going to be required and I think my client needed to be prepared to fire that gun if Mr. Saenz fronted his cuffs. This incident is an extremely unfortunate incident and there are a lot of things, I think several people could have done differently to prevent it from happening."
Officer Flores is currently on leave.
Jopling said he will go before the chief on Monday and they will determine whether or not he can keep his job as a police officer.
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