Austin Homeowners Association steps in to help cops kill guy for uncut grass

from american dystopia department

It is one of the most horrific – and one of the most American stories – that I have ever read. It encompasses many quintessentially American issues, ranging from law enforcement violence to the disturbing ability of individuals and entities to reliably summon law enforcement and bring about the destruction of others.

It begins, as so many stories about police brutality do, with unnecessarily exonerated reporting by reporters — in this case by NBC News’ Elisha Fieldstadt.

An attempt by Austin, Texas officials to serve a search warrant and maintain the lawn led to shootings, a standoff of several hours, a house fire and a deathpolice said Wednesday.

You will immediately notice two things about this sentence. First, there’s the phrase “providing lawn care” — the kind of service that wouldn’t normally generate local news headlines, let alone national news network coverage.

The second thing you’ll notice is the phrase “resulted in gunshots” as if the end result of those actions were the inevitable result of “lawn maintenance”. This, of course, is an absurd statement. It’s also nonsense to write that something came to something when it comes to the police shooting someone because the fact is that the police shot and killed someone and that’s what should to be noted, rather than semi-obscured by wording that suggests the police were powerless to stop their own violence.

Nothing about it is improving. The word “warrant” implies that a serious crime was behind this deployment of Austin police officers. But it was just a “harmful” search warrant, meaning the only crime committed was administrative – a violation of landlord-focused codes that aren’t considered true criminal offences.

Here’s how the Austin PD describes this branch of his law enforcement efforts:

The nuisance reduction unit is made up of a detective and a sergeant. The Nuisance Abatement Unit works “behind the scenes” with property owners and other municipal departments with the goal of first achieving voluntary compliance with properties that have been deemed a “nuisance”.

It’s a two-officer office. But this “unwelcome” owner was confronted by an unknown number of police and code enforcement officers. And that’s before things go awry, bringing in the Austin PD SWAT team, mental health workers, and a crisis negotiator.

Who knows what was going through the resident’s head? And, I guess, who cares, now that he’s dead? Several hours were spent trying to get the resident out of his house… to mow his lawn? Sometime after officers left a warrant posted on the door and “code enforcement officers” began mowing the resident’s lawn, the resident decided to start firing his gun from the inside his house. With whom, it is not said.

The SWAT team arrived, along with their presumably less violent entourage, leading to a standoff which was broken by the resident again firing his gun from inside his home. The cops sent a robot to deal with the resident and his gun. It was then that officers noticed the house was on fire. This eventually prompted the resident to leave his house, which he did through his garage while carrying guns. At that time, the SWAT team members shot him.

This leads to another tragicomic report from out of nowhere:

“At this moment, a SWAT officer shot and struck the resident who fell with a gunshot wound“, [Austin Police Chief Joseph] said Chacon.

Officers removed the man from the home and treated him before he was taken to hospital, where he died. It is not known what caused his death.

Really? Is this the report? Presumably, the man left the house without a bullet in him. He went to the hospital with at least one bullet in him. People who don’t have any bullets in them tend to stay alive. People with bullets in them have a significantly reduced chance of surviving. It seems pretty clear what caused his death. This paragraph shows an alarming deference to the sources of these reports, which all appear to be law enforcement officials.

The final insult to the dead man are the last two sentences of the article, one of which features Austin PD spokesman Jose Mendez.

Their main objective on Wednesday was to bring man into line with local homeowners association.

“They tried to cut his lawn, and that’s the reaction they got,” Mendez said.

In other words, the HOA got him killed. A complaint about the length of the grass resulted in gunshots, a standoff and an Austin resident dead. And it’s all capped off with the police spokesman blaming the dead man for the chain of events that culminated in his death by police officers.

There is the cautious aspect of this incident: any code or any law on the books will, at some point, have to be enforced. And that’s how people end up being killed for lawn care, with the help of entities that wish they could be as powerful as the people they rely on for enforcement: homeowners associations.

Filed Under: austin, grass, hoa, homeowners association, lawn care, police, police shootings, texas

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