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Attorney for Warren family says released body cam video doesn't change their view of the incident

Posted at 10:47 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 23:47:50-05

KILLEEN, TX — On Tuesday, Killeen PD released the body cam footage of Officer Reynaldo Contreras, the officer they say fatally shot Patrick Warren Sr. during a mental health call.

The next day, attorney for the Warren family, Lee Merritt, reacted to the video, saying they’re happy the video was released but the footage itself isn’t that helpful.

“Not much about how we view the case has changed since we’ve seen the additional evidence. At best, the police department and City of Killeen more who they are,” said Warren’s Family Attorney Lee Merritt.

Merritt said Killeen PD’s statements only further shed light on how the department lacks enough training to handle mental health calls.

“The facts as they are is something they’re willing to live with, and I don’t think the people of Killeen will agree with that,” he said.

Police Chief Charles Kimble stated Tuesday there was “nothing else the officer could do in that situation,” but Merritt said there were many options, including what happened on Saturday, the day before Warren’s death.

That’s when the family claims they first called police, and helped Warren, Sr. get to the hospital with the assistance of a resource officer.

“The person responding should’ve known how to engage somebody in crisis,” said Merritt. “He [Officer Contreras] chose to behave as, what I see as bizarrely, to go into the home to confront the exact stimulus that he could’ve expected if he would’ve read the notes from the day before.”

Merritt also explained why the family has not shared their doorbell video of the incident with the Killeen Police Department.

“The family did not share that with him [Chief Kimble] because the family is anticipating a civil rights suit against the City for their failures in this case, and so it would be appropriate for the attorneys for the City to make a formal request in writing," he said.

Merritt says the family has now sent all their evidence to the Killeen Police and Texas Rangers as they wait on the results of an independent autopsy as well as one done by the state.

They want a special prosecutor to handle the case instead of local District Attorney Henry Garza.

Merritt also said they family will file suit against the City after the grand jury has reached a decision regarding any charges against Officer Contreras.