HOUSTON, TX –A family received more than they bargained for when they requested the help of local police in dealing with a mentally ill family member. To “defuse” a situation involving a delusional man who had locked himself in a bathroom with a knife, police kicked in the door, screamed obscenities, tased him several times, and finally shot him to death. The horrifying scene was captured through a hidden camera set up by family members who were distrustful of police.
The incident involving the death of Michael Blair took place on November 4th, 2013. The video was only recently released.
It began as Blair, a 26-year-old paranoid schizophrenic, had an emotional episode in which he picked up a knife and claimed he wanted to hurt himself. Blair took the knife and locked himself in a bathroom. Not knowing what else to do, the Blair family called 9-1-1 for assistance.
While police were en route, a family relative placed a cell phone in the hallway pointing toward the bathroom. The relative was concerned about what might happen when all of the family members were removed from view. The camera obtained a perfect angle from across the hallway, toward the doorway of the bathroom.
Two Fort Bend County Sheriff’s deputies soon arrived. They initiated contact in the most cordial way they knew how.
“Hey man, we will kick in the door, and I don’t wanna do it,” one officer barked. “You want to do this the easy way. Don’t make us do it the hard way.”
Police confirmed that Mr. Blair had a knife to his neck, which caused them to kick the door in immediately and scream as loudly as their lungs would allow.
The officers continued screaming at the top of their lungs at the ill man. “Drop the knife! Drop the knife! You will drop that knife! You hear me?!”
The excited man was in no condition to follow commands. The deputies began employing their tasers as a bargaining tool. Mr. Blair could be heard yelping in pain from the electric shocks.
At one point the primary negotiator lowered his voice a few decibels and for the first time tried to talk to Mr. Blair without screaming. “Let it go. I don’t want to shock you again.” Blair could be heard babbling incoherently as he lay in a bathtub, frightened from the taser.