[Originally published on March, 11, 2014]
The Redus family would first like to express our appreciation to the students, faculty and administrators of the University of the Incarnate Word, friends, loved ones, and even complete strangers who have been so supportive of our family during this awful time in our lives. Their expressions of love and concern as well as our faith in God have sustained us through this most painful time.
Our position from the onset of this ordeal has been one of patience as we have awaited the completion of the criminal homicide investigation and the release of factual information. As difficult as it is after three months and still knowing little more than we did on day one, we continue to advocate waiting on our justice system to complete its work, which we are confident will find that Cameron Redus was wrongfully slain on the morning of Dec. 6, 2013.
We do have concerns over some of the information which came from the Student Government Association‘s open forum at UIW on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.
It is premature on the part of UIW to state that if there is no criminal indictment against UIW Sgt. Chris Carter, he will be returned to work in an administrative role and continue his employment. Since the facts of the case are still unknown we are extremely upset with this decision.
We hold that the commission (or non-commission) of a criminal act should not be the sole factor considered in determining continued employment, for any institution, but in particular a Christian University. There should be the expectation that employees act with discretion and sound judgment. We don’t see how that assessment can be made at this juncture, particularly in the absence of the facts and details of the event. Are we to infer that Chris Carter will not require wisdom and judgment if he is acting in an “administrative” role?
The UIW representative at the forum (UIW Vice President for Business and Finance Douglas B. Endsley) said that policy changes regarding the Campus Police were underway prior to the shooting of Cameron and that no changes would be made as a result of his death. This is an affront to us as a grieving family and should be an outrage to all students. The citizens of San Antonio should equally be concerned since this event began with Carter pursuing a vehicle with nothing marking it as belonging to a UIW student, on a public street and ending at an off-campus apartment parking lot. At no point during the pursuit, attempted arrest, or slaying of Cameron Redus did the encounter occur on UIW property.
If policy changes were underway already, then why did UIW, knowing that there were problems with their policies, still allow their officers to operate in such a manner that ended in Cameron being shot five times? Even more troubling is the implication that no policy changes need to be made as the result of Cameron’s brutal slaying. Seriously?
The Redus family desire two things to come from this tragedy:
- We want to preserve Cameron’s good name and reputation. UIW has done some wonderful things in Cameron’s honor and we are extremely grateful. Law enforcement, however, has attempted to justify and substantiate Officer Carter’s account of the events on Dec. 6, by attacking Cameron and leaking limited information. All of the information stated in press conferences or “leaked” to the press has been negative against Cameron and never against Chris Carter.
- We want to see policy and procedure changes that would ensure that no other family would ever have to experience what we have endured. That goal seems to be in jeopardy if no changes are to result from Cameron’s death. There needs to be a full accounting for the actions of Officer Chris Carter and the system which allowed and is now trying to justify those actions.
UIW Administrators stated at the March 5 forum that the use of Tasers and chemicals are risky, yet UIW officers carry handguns. Earlier accounts indicate that UIW Security officers are issued pepper spray, but Officer Carter, who is certified in the use of pepper spray, did not use it. Carter is also certified in the use of the baton, but was at best ineffective, if not inept. If using non-lethal means to subdue a suspect carries unacceptable risks, how can firearms be considered a safer alternative?
When someone is Tasered multiple times, people cry out against excessive force and brutality. Are we to believe that firing six shots at an unarmed subject at close range from a 40 caliber handgun is a safer alternative? It wasn’t safer for Cameron.
We, as Cameron’s family would like to see senior administration of The University of the Incarnate Word issue a public statement clarifying the comments and information disclosed during the Open Student Forum which occurred on March, 5, 2014. In particular, we would like to understand what steps the university plans to take, regardless of any possible criminal actions involving Chris Carter, to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again to the university community or to any other family. We believe that we as the family, the students and faculty of UIW, and the citizens of Alamo Heights and San Antonio need and deserve that explanation.
The Redus family can be contacted through media spokesman Mark Hall: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Featured/top image: UIW Vice President for Business and Finance Douglas B. Endsley addresses a full meeting room during an open forum hosted by the Student Government Association on March 5, 2014. Photo by Miriam Thomas.