El Paso release body cam after elderly man is injured after being tased
An El Paso family is questioning how El Paso Police officers handled a situation that resulted in their elderly father getting tased in October.
Armando Navejas' wife told KFOX14 Investigates that she has often called the police for help when her husband has wandered out of their home in the past.
"They've always brought him back with no difficulties, so I don't know what happened this time," she said.
Navejas' wife explained that she called the police for help because she is no longer able to run after him, due to her own illness.
"Every time he disappears and I tell them just keep in mind that he has Dementia and Parkinson's so you have to be gentle with him," she said.
Debbie Aguilar, Navejas' daughter, went to an attorney to help her get answers as to why police officers resorted to tasing her father.
Aguilar questions why the department's Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) did not assist.
Although the CIT has not assisted in calls related to Mr. Navejas in the past, the family felt that should have been the case this time, if officers were having a hard time with him.
The Crisis Intervention Team was created in 2019 and is composed of 14 officers and 14 mental health specialists from Emergence Health Network. CIT's goal is to better handle calls from people in crisis.
Aguilar, who lives and works in Denver, said she had to put her life on hold to come help her parents in El Paso.
His doctors are basically saying that he'll need rehab for lifetime and need to be put in a home because she has cancer and is not able to take care of him anymore but they're stating he's pretty bad with all his injuries," said Aguilar.
KFOX14 Investigates got a hold of the police report from that night. It lists Navejas as the offender for "aggravated assault against a public servant" and his wife and an officer as the victims.
The report states that police responded to a "domestic assault in progress" and that when officers arrived, Navejas had assaulted one of the officers.
Home surveillance video from a neighbor shows Navejas picking something up from the yard and throwing it towards the officers. The object landed on a car.
According to the Navejas family, the report is incorrect. The family said their father was disoriented and trying to protect himself after feeling intimidated by the officers.
KFOX14 Investigates filed an open records request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get a hold of the 911 call from the night of the incident.
The request was sent to the Texas Attorney General's Office for review where it was determined that The City of El Paso could withhold the 911 call.
KFOX14 also reached out to the El Paso Police Department to ask about this specific case.
We were told a call was made referencing a domestic assault, not a missing person, and that Dementia is not considered a mental health issue that CIT would respond to.
The police spokesperson explained CIT helps when someone is found to be in a "temporary state of crisis."
KFOX14 also contacted Emergence Health Network (EHN) to better understand what types of cases CIT is supposed to help with.
According to EHN's website, EHN works closely with local law enforcement to "divert those with mental illness away from unecessary incarceration and into appropriate treatments for their behavioral health needs."
KFOX14 received the following response from EHN through email:
We don’t have anyone available and we actually defer you to EPPD for comment because as you know, their trained professionals make the call on how to respond to the many situations they are asked to help with, obviously depending on multiple factors. From there, if CIT is deemed helpful and dispatched our mental health professionals will assist.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office also has a Crisis Intervention Team.
KFOX14 Investigates asked how deputies determined when to call CIT and a spokesperson told us the call is made in cases where someone has a mental health issue, thoughts of suicide, or an altercation with family members.
The creation of CIT was spearheaded by El Paso County Commissioner David Stout.
An assistant for the commissioner said his office is looking into getting us more information about the incident.
The Navejas family attorney told KFOX14 Investigates the family plans to file a lawsuit.