Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Killing of Deputy Goforth Could Be More About Mental Illness of Shannon J. Miles than the Black Lives Matter Movement

Deputy Goforth, Shannon J. Miles, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, District Attorney Devon Anderson,and President Barack Obama are mentioned in this Report; Dr. James Douglas, NAACP Houston Branch Condemns Shooting of Harris County Deputy Darren H. Goforth


Back in 2012, Shannon J. Miles, the (certifiably mentally ill) accused killer of Harris County Sheriff Deputy Darren H. Goforth was found to be incompetent to stand trial in Travis County after being charged by the Travis County district attorney’s office with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. According to prosecutor Joe Frederick the incident in Travis County back in 2012 began after he (Miles) got into a fight at a homeless shelter over a remote control. As a result of his certified mental condition, he (Miles) was sent to a North Texas state hospital located in Vernon, Texas.

According to other published reports, Miles may have also spent time in the Harris County Psychiatric Center on MacGregor in Houston, Texas.

It is unconstitutional to execute someone who is incompetent at the time of his or her execution. The United States Supreme Court also prohibits the execution of the mentally retarded. This was made very clear by the high court in the case of Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002). 


U.S. Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia (2004): “The risk that the death penalty will be imposed in spite of factors which may call for a less severe penalty ... is enhanced, not only by the possibility of false confessions, but also by the lesser ability of mentally retarded defendants to make a persuasive showing of mitigation in the face of prosecutorial evidence of one or more aggravating factors. ... Mentally retarded defendants in the aggregate face a special risk of wrongful execution.”


On Friday, August 28, 2015 at approximately 11:30 a.m. deputies in San Antonio Texas, located in Bexar County Texas fatally shot Gilbert Flores, a Hispanic male who was unarmed (and appeared to have his arms raised in the air) following a domestic disturbance. Flores was pronounced dead at the scene. You can (CLICK HERE) for more information on this deadly shooting.

Later that night, on Friday, August 28, 2015 at approximately 8:30 p.m. in Houston, Texas, a Harris County Sheriff Deputy by the name of Darren H. Goforth was gunned down in cold blood. You can (CLICK HERE) for more information on this deadly shooting.


Shannon J. Miles, 30 (a certifiable mentally ill man) sits in the Harris County Jail (with no bond) accused of gunning down Deputy Darren H. Goforth, 47, in cold blood. According to published reports, deputy Goforth was ambushed from behind and repeatedly shot at close range on Friday, August 28, 2015 around 8:30 p.m. as he pumped gas into his cruiser at a northwest Houston gas station.


Mental illness can be described in a variety of ways. The American Heritage Dictionary (4th edit., 2000) describes it as: "Any of various conditions characterized by impairment of an individual's normal cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning, and caused by social, psychological, biochemical, genetic, or other factors, such as infection or head trauma. Also called emotional illness, mental disease, mental disorder."

The National Alliance on Mental Illness describes mental illness in the following way:

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.

American Bar Association Resolution 122A and accompanying article on exempting those with severe mental illness from the death penalty, August 8, 2006. An almost identical resolution has been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.


“On behalf of Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, the publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper, I would like to offer my condolences to the family of slain Harris County Sherriff Deputy Darren H. Goforth’s family,” says Aubrey R. Taylor, the president and CEO of Aubrey R. Taylor Communications. 


“I would also like to take the moment to offer my prayers to the family of the mentally ill man (Shannon J. Miles) who is accused of this committing this horrific crime,” he says.


“Inflammatory language and insinuations that somehow this (certifiably mentally ill) African American male (Shannon J. Miles) allegedly committed this horrible crime as a result of being influenced by the “Black Lives Matter” movement could very well be grossly missed placed,” Taylor explains. 


“I think Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, and District Attorney Devon Anderson should look into whether (or not) the killing of Flores (the unarmed Hispanic male) on the very same morning by sheriff deputies in Bexar County could have somehow served as the breaking point that drove this mentally ill African American (Shannon J. Miles) to walk up to a Harris County Sheriff Deputy and allegedly pump (15) fifteen bullets into the deputy,” suggests Taylor.


On Monday, President Barack Obama voted to push for more officer safety following a phone conversation with Kathleen Goforth, the widow of the slain deputy. The president said he offered his condolences during the conversation.


“I’m hoping and praying that healing is found,” says Taylor. “I’m also hoping that all parties involved in this matter would withhold judgment until after the investigative process has run its course,” he says. “We do not need a rush to judgment here. Our nation is already suffering the ill-effects of countless other senseless killings of innocent individuals,” Taylor went on to say.


According to published reports, the mother of Shannon J. Miles, the mentally ill African American accused of shooting Harris County Deputy Darren H. Goforth has offered an alibi for her son. She says her son was with her shopping at the time the murder of deputy Goforth was committed. She also went on to say that upon turning home from shopping the with her son (the accused killer) they could not get home because their home located in Cypress, Texas was surrounded by police.

The NAACP Houston Branch Condemns Shooting of Harris County Deputy 

Dr. James Douglas, NAACP Houston Branch President said, “We do not condone the killing of law enforcement in any situation and any and all individuals involved in the said action should be held accountable for the senseless shooting of the deputy”. 

The NAACP Houston Branch condemns last week’s killing of Harris County Deputy Darren H. Goforth. 

Dr. James Douglas, NAACP Houston Branch President said, “We do not condone the killing of law enforcement in any situation and any and all individuals involved in the said action should be held accountable for the senseless shooting of the deputy”. 

While we do not condone the senseless killing of Deputy Goforth, we also do not condone the inflammatory statements made by both Sheriff Hickman and District Attorney Anderson. The insinuation by Sheriff Hickman that the Black Lives Matter movement played a role in the killing of Deputy Goforth is not only inaccurate, but totally improper (especially in light of the fact that no established motive has been determined at this time). Additionally, the reference by District Attorney Anderson of “the silent majority”, harkens back to President Richard Nixon’s use of the term as a political wedge to divide the black and white community. Inflammatory language such as that used by the District Attorney and Sheriff further enflames an already volatile situation. 

Dr. Douglas suggests that further investigation and prosecution of the individual involved should be continued and asks that the Harris County officials be more responsible in their rhetoric regarding incidents of this nature. “If we are to come together in this city, we must learn to respect the rights of all its citizens”. 

Contact information: 
Yolanda Smith, Executive Director 
713-526-3389 – office / 713-545-9696 – cell 

NAACP Houston Branch 2002 Wheeler Houston, TX 77004 

Founded in 1909, by a multiracial group of progressive advocates, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was established with the mission to improve the political, educational, social and economic status of minority groups; to eliminate racial prejudice; to keep the public aware of adverse effects of racial discrimination; to take lawful action to secure its elimination; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in courts, education for our children, employment according to their ability and complete equality before the law. The NAACP Houston Branch is a non-profit agency supported primarily by funds generated from membership as well as corporate and individual contributions. Under the leadership of its dedicated volunteer Executive Committee Members and its Executive Director, the NAACP Houston Branch serves the Houston-Harris County and surrounding areas via its programs and myriad committees made up of its dedicated volunteer members. The Houston Branch has an estimated 20 standing committees to carry out the advocacy efforts of the Association.

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