A Texas police officer shot a man for allegedly threatening him. However, an attorney for the man who was shot insists he was only offering to wash the officer’s car.
Keith Martin survived the shooting and now faces charges of misdemeanor terrorist threat, the Houston Chronicle reported. The cop, who was working undercover at the time, reportedly suspected Martin was reaching for a gun in his book bag when he opened fire.
No weapon was ever found, however. Only cleaning supplies, a cellphone and other equipment Martin uses for what his attorney Andre Evans describes as Martin’s mobile car detailing service. The Houston-based counselor is now working to get the charges dropped and is asking for a civil rights investigation into the case.
Evans called the shooting “unjustified” and argued that racial bias was at play.
“Mr. Martin was simply trying to earn a living when he was met with several bullets,” he said in a statement.
The incident unfolded on Jan. 9 when Martin reportedly interrupted a covert operation involving two police officers sitting in their truck in a Walgreens parking lot. He took a look inside, and at one point asked the officers to get out of the car, police say.
From there, Houston Police said “he then struck the hood of the truck with his hands and went to the driver’s side door, tried to open it [and] stated he had ‘something for the officers.'” Martin, 45, reportedly proceeded to circle the truck, growing “increasingly angry and agitated” as he tugged on the door handles trying to get in.
The victim would later reach into his backpack, again stating that he had “something for the officers,” and that’s when the officer in the passenger seat opened fire, according to police.
In a statement, Evans argued the fact that only one of the officers fired proves that that officer’s belief that Martin was grabbing for a gun was unreasonable. It is unclear whether the officer identified himself before firing; an investigation will seek to answer that.
Evans also said his client disputes details of the authorities’ account of the incident, including the claim that Martin told officers “I got something for you.”
Houston police haven’t named either of the officers involved, due to their undercover status, the Chronicle reported. The department’s Special Investigations Unit is now reviewing the incident.
Martin remains in the Harris County Jail in lieu of a $2,000 bond.