Alex Macario Rivera: Thoughtless Reation or Quick Thinking

In case you aren’t up on the story, last Saturday afternoon, May 12th, Houston Police Officer K.R. Barnes responded to a robbery call at a southwest Houston apartment complex. Two women said they had been robbed at gunpoint by a man half an hour earlier. In a moment of bad luck Alex Macario Rivera happens to ride by on a bike while the officer is interviewing the women, one of which promptly identifies him. So, Officer Barnes chases the guy down and somehow ends up in front of the guy. Rivera rounds a corner and runs past Officer Barnes, who then draws his weapon and fires two shots, with one bullet striking Rivera’s back. Surveillance video captured the end of this whole ordeal.

Officer Barnes says the guy had a gun drawn, and in some earlier reports, that he pointed his gun at the officer. They did, in fact, find a .38 cal next to Rivera’s pocket, though the video doesnt show whether he actually had it in his hand or not. Turns out that Alex Macario Rivera is a documented Crips gang member.

This event has been painted all kinds of ways in the past week: “The officer shot the guy in the back, he’s wrong!” and “The guy was bad, he deserved it!” being two of the loudest sentiments.

Unless you happen to be a Crip member yourself, I think we can all agree that guys like that probably aren’t the kind you want running around on the street. However, Officer Barnes wasn’t privy to that information when he shot. And remember, he did shoot the Rivera in the back, not exactly a threatening position. Then again, police officers are supposed to make those kind of split second decisions; decisions that decide whether or not someone lives or dies.

Did the officer do the right thing? Did he react too quickly? Would this have been a nice time to use his taser, as opposed to using it on kids or child-holding parents? What do you think?

5 Comments so far

  1. Derek Shumate (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 8:41 am

    This should shut up all the taser supporters. THIS is a PERFECT example of a situation where officers are TAUGHT to use the taser and instead, a gun was used on his back and he died. If a taser isn’t used in times like these then they shouldn’t be able to carry them AT ALL. The majority of incidents where a taser was used, occurred unjustly and violated human rights. This is evidence that the technology is being abused and that no one is changing anything.

    If tasers didn’t exist and I had to comment on this I would say the officer was in the right with the exception of the fact that he was shot in the back. They chase and track suspects that are running all the time and end up beating them to the ground and arresting them so why couldn’t that have been done in this case? If someone robs another with a gun and then is visible when a cop shows up of course I expect something bad to happen to the suspect, even if it means getting shot, but in the back? FUCK THAT. I think the cop should be suspended indefinitely.

  2. shawn (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 9:37 am

    Derek, I totally agree. The level of violence seems to only be increasing. And it’s increasing on the side of the officers just as much if not more than on the side of the criminals.

  3. Cat H (unregistered) on May 21st, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

    While I respect that you think this would be a perfect example of why a taser should be used, I would like to remind you that when someone is shot with a taser every muscle in their body tenses up including the finger on the trigger of the gun. Shooting a taser would have been far more dangerous than shooting aq gun because you do not know where the gun that the suspect was holding would be pointing. It could have killed an innocent bystander. That is why HPD trains their cadets to go for the gun and not the taser when a suspect is holding the gun. (I had asked the same question some time ago of an HPD officer).

    I would also like to remind everyone that this suspect was carrying a fake id. It took a week for the police to postitively identify the subject. I back the blue in this case.

  4. Derek Shumate (unregistered) on May 22nd, 2007 @ 10:07 am

    CAT H AT:

    2 points:

    1) If you read the story it says it has not been determined if the suspect was actually carrying a gun. It only appears next to him in the video tape AFTER he was shot. Also, when describing the suspect in the story there is no mention that he was fleeing with a gun, only that he had supposedly held up the girls with a gun.

    2) Carrying a fake ID is NOT a crime. Not carrying an ID at all is also NOT a crime (contrary to popular belief by officials, authorities and the majority of the populace). We live in a free nation and if I chose not to carry identification that is my God given right. Maybe if they didn’t shoot him they wouldn’t have had such a hard time identifying him once captured and questioned.

  5. lamigra (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2007 @ 1:21 pm

    Carry a fake ID is a crime, so is running from the police, robbery, carrying a gun. Throw him in a box and deport the family. Get out of our country. I grew up in that neighborhood 25 years ago, we NEVER had these problems. Houston is turning into a ethinic cesspool!!!

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