DID You Know?

 

Dave AtwoodDave Atwood, Vice-Presiding Officer GHCFJ

As some of you know, the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice (GHCFJ) has been working on the problem of police brutality for many years, and retaliation and wrongful terminations of officers who protest discrimination within HPD.

The GHCFJ is a diverse organization comprised of organizations and individuals concerned with racism and criminal injustices in Houston/Harris County.  The organization is headed up by Johnny Mata.

The GHCFJ has campaigned for greater oversight of the police department through an independent civilian review board with subpoena powers.    

We have campaigned for reform the Harris County Grand Jury system in the legislative, meeting with Senator Whitmire.  As a result of these efforts, Senator Whitmire have sponsored SB 135 with Rep. Harold Dutton sponsoring HB 262 in the 2015 Legislative session. These bills will essential do without the key man system and require that the judge summon members of the community for jury duty.

In additional Rep Dutton has also agreed to sponsor a bill requiring require a special prosecutor, appointed by the attorney general, will present the evidence of police misconduct before a grand jury. While the Houston Justice.org, a new grassroots, activist-led organization addressing criminal justice reform at the local level, have signed more than 200 citizens of Harris County to serve on the grand jury.

We have held numerous press conferences to highlight cases of police brutality.

We are working with the National Bar Association and have petitioned the Department of Justice to investigate police brutality in Houston/Harris County.

We have held Town Hall meetings – the last one being in April of 2014 year at TSU.

The work of the Coalition has involved going to City Council and meetings with the Harris County D.A., the FBI, the HPD Police Chief, the Harris County Sheriff and numerous politicians. Our latest request to DA Anderson was Not to Retry Albert Brown, after Mr. Brown was granted a new trial based on evidence withheld in the case. see attached letter.

I am bringing this to your attention in wake of the Brown case in Ferguson and the Garner case in NYC.  These two cases have sparked nationwide interest in the problem of police brutality in the nation.   This spark was direly needed and the time has come for major improvements in our criminal justice system.  Houston Chron reported from 2008-2012, HPD officers killed 52 citizens, 10 of whom were unarmed.  HPD officers have been cleared by Harris County Grand Juries 289 consecutive times!

These two cases have also posed the question “WHY” Good Cops don’t report Bad Cops? The answer is Retaliation. The Coalition has been fighting on behalf of HPD officers, who have been retaliated against and wrongfully terminated, after reporting discrimination in HPD

Thanks

Dave Atwood

 

 

Randall-KallinenThat In 2010, the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice formally requested that the U.S. Department of Justice review the elevated number of officer-involved shootings and use of deadly force. GHCFJ’s request included for DOJ to conduct an audit of grants provided to the Houston Police Department (HPD) for violations of Title VII, §1983, and any other applicable federal statutes.

  • February 12, 2012, additional and amended complaints to DOJ includedAllegations that HPD and the City of Houston practice of taking retaliatory action against minorities officers who complain about discrimination andhave been subjected to countless and persistent egregious and malicious acts of retaliation, (Such as termination) after reporting discrimination.

48 cases of Excessive and Deadly Force

The Greater Houston Coalition for Justice reported 48 cases of Excessive and Deadly Force to the DOJ Washington DC, 1/1/2007 – 10/11/2012, including four new cases in 2014

  • 10/11/12 – Kenneth Brian Releford, b/m, unarmed and known by police to be mentally ill, killed when shot by Houston PD officer J. Rosemon. Releford had broken into his neighbors house, went to a bedroom and “groped” a young boy. The 87-yr-old grandfather then struggled with Releford, then Releford walked out of the house. The homeowner called 911 and when Rosemon arrived, it is reported that neighbors were shouting to him, saying he is mentally ill and don’t shoot him. Rosemon claims that Releford approached him with one hand behind his back, so he shot him. Witnesses dispute this, saying Releford’s hands were in sight. Releford is the 18th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)
  •  9/22/12 – Brian Claunch, w/m, 45, unarmed and known to be mentally ill, killed when shot by Houston PD officer Matthew Jacob Marin, a 5-yr veteran. Officers were called to a “group” home after Claunch created a disturbance when the night caretaker refused to give him a soft drink and cigarette. Marin claims Claunch trapped his partner in a corner while brandishing an ink pen, and he feared for his partner’s life, so he shot Claunch – in the head. However, Claunch was a paraplegic, having only his left arm and leg, making it difficult, if not impossible, to create the situation described by Marin.

NOTE: In 2005, the Texas Legislature passed the Bob Meadours Act requiring law officers to take 16 hours of training in how to deal with mentally ill individuals. Houston is alleged to have the best mental health training program (Criitical Incident Team – CIT) in the country. This shooting indicates a severe training deficiency in HPD’s CIT program, and its policy to attempt rehabilitation of disciplined officers. It’s our opinion that officers such as Matthew Marin, who repeatedly use excessive and deadly force against citizens, should be fired and listed on a national registry of disciplined law enforcement officers to prevent their working in any other police department.

  • Claunch is the 16th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

Also see, 10/9/09 – Marin kills Jose Oseguera; and

  •  11/17/08 – Marvin Driver Jr. is severely beaten by Marin and other HPD officers.
  •  7/9/12 – Rufino Lara, h/m, 54, unarmed, killed when shot by Houston PD officer J. McGowan, a rookie of less than 2 years. When officers responded to a 9-1-1 call of an assault (in which Lara was the victim), Lara began walking away. McGowan, saying she saw a bulge under his shirt, ordered him to stop and show his hands. He continued walking, but then turned toward McGowan, who claimed he had his hand on the bulging item and she thought it was a gun, so she shot him. HPD says Lara was given orders in both English and Spanish, but a witness says McGowan spoke to Lara only in English. The witness further states that Lara had his hands up before he turned toward the officers.

Lara is the 12th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

  •  01/27/12 – Annika Lewis, 26 and husband, Sebastian Prevot, 29 – Lewis said when she heard screaming outside her home about 2:30 a.m. she found police officers punching, kicking and hitting her husband with a baton. She began recording the incident with her cell phone video camera, but one of the more than 20 officers in front of her home twisted her hand behind her back. Another officer grabbed her by her hair and forced her to the ground. Lewis said she was punched in the face before being placed in the police car. (media reports)
  • 1/7/12 – Deandre Bryant, wounded when shot by Houston PD officer L. Ingle, who tried to stop him for a traffic violation. When Bryant crashed his car, he attempted to flee but was caught by Ingle. As the two struggled, Ingle pulled his gun and shot Bryant in the chest. (media reports)
  • 4/4/12 – Mark Vincent Ames b/m, 23 (unarmed) wounded when shot in the shoulder by Houston PD officer Jeffery Rexroad (5-yr. vet., Westside Patrol). Ames had outstanding warrants for his arrest when officers spotted his car at an apartment complex. When he later drove away, officers followed, but Ames returned to his apartment and was trying to open the door when Rexroad confronted him. A struggle ensued, and Rexroad claims he thought Ames was reaching for a gun, so he shot him

9/16/12 – Yoanis Vera, 26, (unarmed) and (mentally ill), wounded when shot by Houston PD officers C. Meade (6-yr. vet.), C. Levrier (a rookie of less than one year) and A. Smith (3-yr. vet.), who responded to a call about a man with a gun. They found Vera and ordered him to raise his hands. When he instead allegedly pulled something from his waistband (a cell phone), all three officers, claiming they “feared for their lives,”shot at him, hitting him at least once in the leg. Police say they believe Vera made the call, planning to provoke a “suicide by cop” incident

12/29/11 – Clemente Vela, h/m, 32, wounded when shot by off-duty Houston PD officer Julio Lopez, h/m, 29 (5-yr. vet), who was with friends and relatives at a local restaurant after leaving a nightclub. A witness says that when 3 other men came in (who also had been at a nightclub) and sat at a table next to Lopez, Lopez’ group began making racial slurs toward Vela’s group, and remarks and hand gestures were exchanged. Lopez says he went to his car to get his cell phone to call for backup, and also got his gun. He says when he began walking back to the restaurant, he saw Vela’s group harassing and threatening his brother outside with a knife. Lopez says he fired his gun into the air several times, identified himself as a police officer, and ordered Vela to drop the knife. He then claims Vela charged at him with a knife, and he shot him — four times. However, the witness says Vela complied with Lopez’ order and had his hands up when Lopez shot him. He further says Lopez’ group appeared to be drunk and started the incident. (media reports)

12/25/11 – Blake Pate, w/m, 24, killed when shot by Houston PD Sgt. Curtis Hampton (13-yr. vet, Northeast Patrol), who claims Pate was speeding when he crashed into a ditch. He began walking away when Hamilton ordered him to stop, and arrested him. Hampton claims that as he was taking him to the patrol car, Pate started resisting; they struggled, and Hampton was knocked to the ground. He claims Pate reached toward him and he feared for his life (although Pate had no weapon), so he shot him.

However, witnesses at the scene disagree with Hampton’s version of the incident and say there was no struggle, that Pate was compliant, and there was no reason for him to be shot. Pate is the 17th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

(This was the second known shooting for Hampton: 11/11/03 – Louis Medlow, 45, threatening suicide, wounded when shot in the legs and buttocks by Houston PD officer Curtis Hampton during SWAT standoff. Although the standoff lasted several hours, no CIT officer was reported to have been called.)

3/26/11 – Pablo Sabas Flores, h/m, 17, wounded when shot in the leg by Houston PD officer B.A. LeBlanc (2-yr. vet, North Patrol). Flores’ father had allegedly assaulted his wife and was attempting to avoid arrest, with his son Pablo Flores driving his truck. When Pablo crashed the truck, he tried to run away. As LeBlanc was chasing him, he claims Pablo reached in his pocket, so he shot him. (media reports)HYPERLINK “Victims Folders/Flores, Pablo Sabas 032611/Media reports.html”

 3/17/11 – Chad Holley, 15, b/m, unarmed, suspected of burglary was beaten by eight Houston police officers (named below) during his arrest. The officers were caught on tape kicking, punching and stomping on Holley who was handcuffed. The officers were put on administrative leave (with pay) pending the outcome of the case. Four of the officers were brought up on misdemeanor charges of official oppression – not assault. Those four Houston officers were indicted and fired: Raad Hassan, Andrew Bloomberg, Drew Ryser and Phillip Bryan. The video showed the most physical cop appeared to be Raad Hassan. Twelve officers were disciplined in the Holley case, most have been given their jobs back. (media reports)HYPERLINK “/public_html/Victims Folders/Holley, Chad 032411/Media reports.html”

3/16/11 – Kenneth Wayne Thomas, 30, killed when shot by off-duty Houston PD narcotics officer S.O. Bryant. Bryant (15-yr. vet) noticed Thomas and another man sitting in their car at the apartment complex where he was working a second job, and thought they might be doing drugs. He claims he identified himself as a police officer and ordered them to get out of the car; he further claims Thomas began trying to free a gun that he was sitting on, so he shot him. But residents tell a different story; they say that both Thomas and his companion had their hands up when Bryant shot Thomas. Police claim they found a gun and marijuana in the car. Thomas is the 5th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

2/19/11 – Omar Ventura, h/m, 29, killed, and Rolando Ventura, h/m, 27, wounded when shot by off-duty Houston PD officer Jose Coronado, 37 (4-yr. vet), who had just attended a party at a pub. Coronado claims while he was walking to his car he heard a friend calling for help and saw him on the ground being punched and kicked by 4 men. He claims one of the men reached into his waistband and he feared for his life, so he shot him. He further claims another man began advancing toward him, so he shot him, too. Ventura is the 3rd person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

6/15/11 – Ramiro Ortiz, h/m, 18 and (unarmed), wounded when shot in the back by Houston PD Northeast Patrol Div. officers Amna K. Ali (6-mo. rookie) and Gilbert Garcia Jr. (21-yr. vet). Ortiz and 2 companions were engaged in burglarizing a vehicle. When police arrived the 3 attemped to flee in a pickup truck that officers say was stolen. When the pickup rammed Ali and Garcia’s patrol car, they jumped out and began shooting at the fleeing suspects, hitting Ortiz in the back.

10/2011 Anthony Childress, (unarmed) and beaten by several officers while he was out riding his bicycle. Childress was charged with cocaine possession. No officers were disciplined

12/16/10 – Ciara Lee b/f, 20, killed (unarmed) when shot by Houston PD officer Dong Q. Hoang, a 9-yr. vet at Westside Patrol. Lee and a companion had robbed a man at gunpoint, then drove to an apartment complex nearby. The victim followed them and waited for police to arrive after he called 911. They found Lee and her companion sitting in their car, and ordered them out. Hoang said Lee was holding a gun when she got out and claims she tried to flee, then turned and pointed the gun at him. He fired once, killing Lee. Witnesses say she didn’t have a gun, and was running away.

12/23/10 – Michael Young, a former Univ. of Houston basketball star, was hit in the head with a baton, wielded by Houston PD officer Brenton Green. Young was shopping with his young son when he was struck from behind by Green.

Suspended for 20 days, with pay, and charged with official oppression, Green was acquitted by a grand jury. (media reports)HYPERLINK “Victims Folders/Young, Michael 122310/Media reports.html”

Also see:  Excessive force charges against HPD Officer Brenton Green

11/3/10 – Morgan Chadwick Wilson, 21, (unarmed) wounded when shot by Houston PD officer M. Rivera (1-1/2 year vet, Southwest Patrol). When officers responded to an assault call, Wilson ran from the house and jumped over the fence. Rivera looked over the fence with his weapon drawn, and ordered Wilson to stop. He did, turned to face the officer and, according to Rivera, raised his right arm. Rivera claimed he thought Wilson had a weapon, and shot him twice – once in each leg. No weapon was reported to have been found. (media reports)

11/22/10 – Vernell Bazile, b/m, wounded when shot by Houston PD officer C.E. Dorton (NE Patrol, 2-yr. vet). Police officers stopped Bazile’s car, believing him and his companion to be involved in several robberies. The men fled, and officers gave chase. Dorton claims Bazile turned and began to reach into his waistband; Dorton shot at him several times, hitting Bazile in the leg

10/30/10 – Ricardo Salazar-Limon, h/m, 25, (unarmed) wounded when shot by Houston PD officer C.C. “Charlie” Thompson (4-year vet), who stopped Salazar-Limon for speeding. Thompson says he smelled alcohol and when he attempted to arrest him, Salazar-Limon resisted and began running back to his vehicle. Thompson claims he thought Salazar-Limon was reaching for a weapon, so he shot him – in the back. (media reports)

10/26/10 – Rogelio Rodriguez, h/m, (unarmed) wounded when shot by off-duty Houston PD officer R.O. Carreon (4-year vet), who was awakened by his car alarm. Carreon says he saw a man getting out of his (Carreon’s) truck, and feared he had stolen his gun. Carreon claims the man then began walking toward his wife, so he shot him multiple times with a shotgun. (media reHYPERLINK “Victims Folders/rodriguez, rogelio 102610/media reports.htm”ports)

8/31/10 – Leonard Lee Allen, (unarmed) wounded when shot by off-duty Houston PD officer S.C. Lameyer, who saw Allen and a companion breaking into a car. Lameyer shot at them, hitting Allen in the arm and leg. (media reports)

5/26/10 – Gene Horace II, b/m, 20, (unarmed) wounded when shot by off-duty rookie Houston PD officer Jason E. Rice, working security at his apartment complex. Rice allegedly found Horace burglarizing his car, and a foot chase ensued. Rice claims Horace turned and faced him and appeared to put his hand in his waistband, so he shot him – in the back. Rice has been with HPD less than a year. (media reports)

4/3/10 – Faustino Espinoza, (unarmed) wounded when shot by off-duty Houston PD officer Daniel Calballero, who found Espinoza asleep in his car with music blaring. After confronting him about the music Calballero claims Espinoza moved toward him, so he arrested him. Espinoza turned away from Calballero after he handcuffed one of his hands. Claiming a struggle ensued, Calballero drew his gun and shot, hitting Faustino in the foot with bullet fragments. Espinoza was not armed. (media reports)

3/19/10 – David Renauld Rogers, b/m, 21, killed when shot by Houston PD officer J.P. Horelica (8-yr. vet., Midwest Patrol). Rogers and a companion had robbed a convenience store. As they were leaving, officers arrived and captured Rogers’ companion. Horelica claims that Rogers pointed a gun at him, so he shot him. But the autopsy report states that Rogers was shot in the back. Rogers is the 3rd person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. Horelica was no-billed. (media reports)

2/24/10 – Steven Sevan Guidry, b/m, 41, (unarmed) wounded when shot in the back of the neck by Houston PD officer Brendon Delon Green (14-yr. vet, Southeast Patrol). After stopping Guidry for a minor traffic violation, Green claims he refused to get out of his pickup, so he pulled him out. Then he says Guidry resisted and reached into his waistband. Green says he “feared for his life,” and he shot him. A passenger with Guidry disputes Green’s version of this incident, saying Guidry did not resist or struggle with Green. No weapon was reported to have been found in Guidry’s possession. (media reports)

In addition to this incident, two civil suits have been filed against Green for excessive force – see, http://www.civiliansdown.com/Excessive%20force%20charges%20against%20Officer%20Brenton%20Green.html

12/7/09 – Nicholas John Schaefer, w/m, 44 and mentally ill, wounded when shot in the arm by 8-mo. rookie Houston PD officer K. Waymire, after he and two other officers responded to a caller who allegedly reported a “suspicious male” with a weapon. Claiming Schaefer pointed the “weapon” at the officers, who had taken cover, Waymire shot him. There was no weapon; Schaefer had a hairbrush. Police say Schaefer made the 911 call, who had threatened suicide before making the call. (media reports)

9/11/09 – Michael Darrell Rollerson, b/m, 25, wounded when shot by Houston PD officer L. Bookman Jr. (8-mo. rookie, North Patrol Div.), who said he saw Rollerson run a stop sign. He followed Rollerson to a residential driveway, where Rollerson and a passenger got out of the car. Bookman ordered them to show their hands, but Rollerson allegedly put his hands behind his back, then brought them forward. Bookman claimed he feared for his life, so he shot him – twice, in the leg. Rollerson did not have a weapon. (media reports)

8/7/09 – Brian Keith Lee, b/m, 21, wounded when shot by Houston PD officer R.B. Olive, North Patrol Div. (7-yr. vet). When narcotics officers entered Lee’s apartment with a search warrant, they say Lee jumped through a window to escape. They say Lee refused to stay on the ground, and instead got up and charged at Olive. Claiming he feared for his life, Olive shot Lee, hitting him in the left arm. No weapon was reported to have been recovered. (media reports)

8/1/09 – John Barnes, w/m, 39, killed when shot by off-duty Houston PD officer Ryan G. Gardiner (7-yr. vet, Northeast Patrol). Barnes and his wife were arguing outside their apartment when Gardiner, making his rounds as a security officer, came by. He ordered Barnes to get on the ground, and Barnes asked, “What for?” The two scuffled briefly, and Gardiner pulled out his Taser. Barnes’ wife said he then slapped the Taser out of Gardiner’s hand because he has a metal plate in his head and had a fear of being shot with a Taser. The two then backed away from each other, and Barnes allegedly leaned against his car with arms folded and said, “What are you going to do, shoot me?” His wife said, “When he was shot, he was leaning against the car, … He didn’t have anything in his hands.

He wasn’t a threat to him. He wasn’t asked to get on the ground. He wasn’t even given a warning. He just shot him.” Gardiner shot him 5 times; he was no-billed by a grand jury. Barnes is the 18th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

(This is the second known shooting for Gardiner: 3/15/06 – Robert Paul Cantrell, w/m, 36, critically wounded when shot by Houston PD officer Ryan G. Gardiner (a 4-yr. veteran from Northeast Patrol Div.) Gardiner followed Cantrell to a gas station because the car he was driving was reported stolen.

As Cantrell came out of the station’s store, Gardiner ordered him to lie on the ground. He claims Cantrell instead “dived into the stolen vehicle,” reaching under the passenger seat. Gardiner then shot at him five times. No weapon was reported to have been found in the car.

(Also, in 2006, Gardiner was identified as the HPD officer that used his Taser more than any other officer.)

3/19/09 – Lisa Vermillion, wounded when shot by Houston PD officer C.A. Curtis, a 9-yr. veteran assigned to Kingwood Patrol. Police had blocked a truck parked behind a truck stop because they suspected drug activity. When the driver of the truck pushed back the patrol car behind him with his truck, officers claim he then drove toward Curtis. As he fled, Curtis fired at the truck, hitting Vermillion in the leg, who was a passenger in the truck. Note: HPD policy prohibits officers from shooting at a fleeing vehicle unless a life is endangered; in this case, it appears Curtis shot into the passenger-side door as the truck passed him. (HPD news report)

3/5/09 – Wifido Joel Alfaro, h/m, 29, killed when shot by Houston PD narcotics officers Marshum D. Sinegal, a 10-yr. vet; Carlos R. Cantu, a 12-yr. vet; and Brenda K. McCord, a 13-yr. vet. The officers were executing a no-knock search warrant at Alfaro’s home to search for drugs, and say they announced themselves as police as they entered. As officer Richard Salter stepped inside, Alfaro shot him in the jaw, critically injuring him. The other three officers opened fire on Alfaro, killing him. Police describe a surveillance system at the Alfaro home as “elaborate” and indicative of drug dealing; the family says it was installed because their home had previously been burglarized. Alfaro’s wife states that because the officers were dressed in black and wore ski masks, they feared for their lives and Alfaro was merely defending his family. No drugs were found in the home. Alfaro is the 4th person known to have been shot to death this year by Harris County police officers. (media reports)

1/11/09 – Stephen Paul Greene, w/m, 54 and mentally ill, killed when shot by Houston PD SWAT officers M.S. Scales (29-yr. vet), Richard L. Kent (17-yr. vet) and Julian D. Coleman (27-yr. vet). When Greene told family members he wanted to kill himself, they called police. Instead of sending an officer from the Critical Incident Team (established in 1999 to respond to incidents involving a mentally ill person), a SWAT team responded to the family’s request for help. When Greene came to the front door with a pistol in his hand, the three officers opened fire on him, claiming he raised the gun in their direction. Greene’s gun was never fired. Greene is the first person known to have been shot to death this year by Harris County police officers. (media reports)

This is the fourth known shooting for Kent: 9/19/09 – Kent kills Gary Rick Varner; 7/31/07 – Kent and other HPD officers shoot and kill Reginald Lee Sumbler; and 6/10/99 – Coleman and other SWAT officers kill Demetrio Martine Hernandez.

12/20/08 – Tavan DeShawn Anderson, b/m, 24, wounded when shot by Houston PD officer Michael Houston (6-yr. vet, Crime Reduction Unit). Officers had stopped the car in which Anderson was a passenger for a traffic violation. Claiming they found drugs in the car, the officers began arresting the three occupants, and Anderson ran. Houston chased him on foot and when Anderson turned to face him Houston claims he pointed what he thought was a pistol at him. Houston then shot him, hitting Anderson in the shoulder. Anderson was holding a cell phone. Police also claim they found a pistol in the area where Anderson was shot. (media reports)

11/17/08 – Marvin Driver, Jr., father of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver said that after he was stopped for an alleged traffic violation, officers Gilberto Cruz, Bacilio Guzman and Matthew Marin beat him, forced open his mouth and made him swallow cocaine or crack. (media reports)

10/2008 – Henry Madge, b/m, 27, beaten while handcuffed by off-duty Houston PD officer B.L. Hall. Madge was in the hospital waiting room while his son had surgery. After being asked to turn down the audio on his laptop computer, which he did, Hall soon entered the room and arrested Madge. While being led from the waiting room, Hall suddenly knocked Madge to the floor, then hit him repeatedly with his baton. A video shows no apparent reason for the arrest or the beating. (media reports)

10/28/08 – Kenneth Green, b/m, 45 and known by police to be mentally ill, killed when shot by Houston PD officer E. Lem, a/m. Green’s brother had called the city to find the proper agency to take him to a hospital because Green had stopped taking his medicine. He was referred to Houston PD, and a SWAT team soon arrived. The brother said he told the SWAT supervisor that Green was in his bedroom with an unloaded pellet gun, and was assured that they were not going to kill his brother because they had other options, such as bean bags, tasers or tear gas. He then heard two shots – his brother had been killed. Once more, no member of the Critical Incident Team was directed to help this mentally ill man in crisis. Green is the 13th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

8/22/08 – Miguel Benavidez, critically wounded when shot in the chest by Houston PD officer S.E. Fisher (13-yr. vet, Narcotics Div.) Officers had entered Benavidez’ home with a search warrant. Fisher claims Benavidez made an aggressive move with his hands, so he shot him. (media reports)

This is the second known shooting for Fisher: 4/6/99 – Fisher kills Eulogio Perez Delgado.

07/14/08 – Marion Wilson Jr., 52, dies after being beaten by Houston PD officers P. Mayorga-Guerrero Jr. and R.P. Johnson (Northeast Patrol); both one-yr. rookie officers. When police responded to a burglary call, Wilson and others began to flee. Guerrero caught Wilson in a nearby woods and began struggling with him. Johnson then caught up to them and “helped” Guerrero subdue Wilson. After handcuffing him, officers called for paramedics to transport Wilson to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. (media reports)

6/15/08 – Victor Daniel Lebron-Vasquez, h/m, 28 and apparently mentally ill, critically wounded when shot by Houston PD officer Ha Crawford, a/f, a 5-yr. vet of HPD. Police theorize that Lebron said something to a man sitting in his car just outside HPD headquarters that caused him to get out of the car. When Lebron then got into the car, the man began yelling for help. Crawford ran out of police headquarters with gun drawn, and ordered Lebron to get on the ground. He instead began approaching Crawford, moving his arms erratically. Although Lebron had nothing in his hands, Crawford claims she feared for her life and shot Lebron in the abdomen. (media reports)

6/4/08 – Terrance Alvin Brown, b/m, 30, killed when shot in the back by Houston PD rookie officer Shane Nash (one-yr. vet, Southeast Gang Task Force). Officers claim they saw Brown involved in a drug transaction, and he rode away on a bicycle when they approached him. They chased and caught him, and a struggle ensued. As the three struggled, officers claim Brown kept reaching for something in his shorts, allegedly attempting to remove something. Brown managed to overpower the two officers and began walking away, saying (according to police), “You’re going to have to kill me.” Officer Hans Wagner claims Brown then reached into his pants, and he saw what he thought was a gun. Wagner yelled, “Gun,” and Nash then shot him in the back. Police recovered several small bags of white powder from Brown’s body; no weapon was found in the area. Brown is the 8th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

4/29/08 – Roland Vincent Carnaby, w/m, 52, killed when shot in the back by Houston PD officers Andrew J. Washington (22-yr. vet) and Cecil Foster (15-yr. vet). Officers had stopped Carnaby for a traffic violation; he showed them his identification as a CIA agent, then drove away. A chase at speeds up to 122 mph ensued as Carnaby tried to reach the FBI on his cell phone to verify his identity. When Carnaby got into heavy traffic, he pulled over but would not get out of his car. After one of the officers broke out the front passenger window, Carnaby got out on the other side. Police claim he leaned back into his car and reached for something under the seat; they further claim they saw a shiny object in his hand, and Washington and Foster each fired one shot at Carnaby. The shiny object was his cell phone. Carnaby was handcuffed and lay on the ground bleeding for 12 minutes before an ambulance arrived; police made no attempt to give medical help as he lay dying.

Autopsy revealed that he died from a gunshot in his back that penetrated his spine. Carnaby is the 7th person known to have been shot to death this year by Harris County police officers. (media reports)

4/9/08 – L. Mendez, 31, wounded when shot by Houston PD officer Carl T. Sanders, a 15-yr. vet. Sanders tried to make a traffic stop, and a short pursuit followed. When Mendez was forced to stop at a dead end street, he began to run away on nearby railroad tracks. Sanders followed. Claiming he thought Mendez had a gun, Sanders shot once, striking him in the ankle. (media reports)

This is the second shooting for Sanders: 10/8/03 – Sanders shoots Jose Zamora in the head.

 

10/18/07 – Raymond Smith Jr., b/m, 29, killed when shot twice by Houston PD officer Brian Marshall Bueno (5-yr vet), who claimed he feared for his life when the unarmed and naked Smith allegedly chased him. Bueno was ticketing another driver when Smith stopped and got out of his pickup truck. He asked the other driver (apparently someone he knew) if Bueno was (expletive) with him, and an argument between Smith and Bueno ensued. Bueno began to pat him down, and witnesses say Smith’s pants fell down. They say that when Smith tried to pull them up Bueno shot him with a Taser, which had no effect except possibly to annoy Smith, because he then tore off all his clothes and ran into some nearby woods. Bueno followed, but then claims Smith charged at him, so he shot him. Smith fell, but got up and ran to the patrol car, where police claim he tried to drive away. Bueno and backup officers pulled him out of the car, and Smith ran back into the woods, where he died. Smith is the 10th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

 

8/14/07 – Brittnee S. King, b/f, 18, wounded when shot on her 18th birthday by Houston PD officer Patrick Carraway (sworn in just 4 months ago, assigned to Northeast Patrol Div.) Officers saw a passenger in King’s vehicle throw some trash out the window and tried to stop her. Apparently, King was near her home, and she instead continued driving to her apartment complex, where a code was required to enter. As she began punching in the code, Carraway claimed he saw a shiny object in her left hand, and shot her. King’s mother says the “shiny object” was likely the bracelets she was wearing that night. (media reports)

 

8/13/07 – Darrell Lauderdale, b/m, 44 and mentally ill, dies in Houston PD’s Mykawa Street jail. His sister had called police because someone was beating on her door. Once she realized it was her brother, she told officers there was something wrong with him. They said they would take Lauderdale directly to a Harris County Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority facility for an evaluation. Instead, he was arrested for public intoxication and taken to the Mykawa Street jail, where police say he had a psychotic episode, went into convulsions, and died. (media reports)

 

7/31/07 – Reginald Lee Sumbler, b/m, 21, killed when shot multiple times by Houston PD officers Sergeant P.E. Ogden III. (Eastside Patrol Division), Officer H.M. Wagner Jr. (5-yr. veteran, Southeast Patrol Division), Officer T.S. Warren (Special Operations Division), and Officers Patrick J. Straker, A. Gonzales, Richard L. Kent, and R.J. McCusker (SWAT). Police say Sumbler had called them, saying he wanted to die. The first officer to respond found him outside his home, holding a gun and a Bible.

A CIT officer then spoke to him for nearly an hour, convincing him to move away from his gun and read his Bible. As he did so, SWAT officers arrived and began surrounding him. Alarmed by SWAT’s arrival, police say Sumbler grabbed the gun; at least one witness said he didn’t pick up the gun at this point. Police claim he then pointed it at the officers; witnesses say he did not. One of the officers shot once, and Sumbler fell backward into a ditch. He then grabbed for the gun, and all seven officers opened fire. Sumbler is the 8th person known to have been shot to death this year by Harris County police officers. (media reports)

This is the fifth shooting for Straker: 10/23/06 – Straker kills Mohammad Rafi; 8/13/01 – Straker kills McLoren Anthony Jones; 9/2/03 – Straker kills Mary J. Beasley; and 6/10/99 – Straker kills Demetrio Martine Hernandez; and

This is the third shooting for Kent (see 1/11/09 above); and

This is the second shooting for Wagner: 8/11/05 – Wagner kills Ronald Charles Newman.

 

7/21/07 – Steven Guillory, b/m, 39 and mentally ill, killed when shot by Houston PD officers T.K. Richardson and R.B. Wieners. Police say Guillory had threatened his mother with a knife, and she called 911 for help, telling them that her son was mentally ill. When officers arrived they said Guillory had a large pipe and appeared agitated. After about 20 minutes the officers moved away and called for backup; Guillory then began smashing the patrol car’s windows and headlights. When the second officers arrived Guillory’s mother told them her son was schizophrenic and bipolar, begging them not to shoot him. But they allege that Guillory threw the pipe at them, and Richardson and Wieners then shot him at least once. Once again, the Crisis Intervention Team either was not summoned or failed to respond to this call. Guillory is the 7th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

 

5/12/07 – Alex Macario Rivera a/k/a Hegnor Irias, h/m, 22, killed when shot in the back by Houston PD officer K.R. Barnes (9-yr. veteran, Fondren Patrol), who was talking to a woman whose purse was stolen. As they spoke, a man identified a passerby as the person that had previously robbed him at gunpoint. Barnes approached Rivera, who allegedly “fled” into a nearby apartment complex. Police first claimed that Rivera then ran toward Barnes with a pistol, refused to drop the gun, and Barnes fired twice, hitting Rivera in the upper torso. Two days later officers admit that Rivera was shot in the back. Rivera is the 5th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

 

5/6/07 – Marnell Robertson Villarreal, b/f, 42 and mentally ill, killed when shot once at Houston PD headquarters by HPD officer A.B. Clay, a 9-yr. vet. Villarreal had first requested to speak to an investigator about a case involving her, but was refused entry because her name was flagged as someone who had previously tried to bring weapons into the building. Officers then saw her “wandering” on the street in front of headquarters, and again refused her entry when she asked to use the bathroom. She later rushed into the building, allegedly with a knife in her hand (Note: A witness claims it was similar to a butter knife), crying out, “Shoot me, kill me. I want to end this.” As she focused her attention on Clay, officer E.D. Smith (5-yr. vet), shot her with a Taser, which apparently failed to make contact. Clay then shot her in the chest. Villarreal was convicted in November of unlawfully carrying a weapon, and was ordered at that time to have a psychiatric examination; it is not known if the examination was arranged by the court or any other authority. Once again, no CIT officer was summoned, despite her unusual behavior for several hours before she was killed. Villarreal is the 4th person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

 

1/26/07 – Edward Thomas, 20, wounded when shot in the head, shoulder and side by Houston PD detectives M.W. Hamby, 47 (26-yr. vet), and T.D. Butler, 34 (12-yr. vet), who saw Thomas sitting in their unmarked car as they approached after having lunch. The officers say they identified themselves as police and ordered Thomas to surrender; instead, Thomas jumped into his own car (parked next to the detectives), and drove toward them.

Hamby and Butler both opened fire, shooting three times through the windshield and twice in each of the front doors. At least 11 shots were fired at Thomas, who was unarmed. (media reports)

 

1/9/07 – Robert McIntosh, b/m, 23, shot three times and killed by Houston PD officer Leonard P. Smith, who had stopped the car in which McIntosh was a passenger for a broken tail light. Smith found the driver had a warrant from another county, and began to question McIntosh. He claims McIntosh pushed him, and ran. A struggle ensued after Smith caught up to him and shot him with a Taser. McIntosh then broke Smith’s thumb when he managed to take the Taser away from him. Smith claims he then feared for his life, shot McIntosh, and handcuffed him.

 

However, a witness (the wife of a church pastor) who saw the entire incident, and others claim that Smith shot McIntosh three times after he was handcuffed and on the ground. McIntosh was unarmed; he is the 2nd person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

 

1/7/07 – Omar B. Esparza, h/m, 21 and known by police to be mentally ill, killed when shot by Houston PD officer Rodney D. Chaison Jr. (5-yr. veteran). Esparza’s parents had called 911 for help in taking him to a psychatric facility for evaluation after he locked the family out of the house. Police claim that he had assaulted his sister and was destroying their house with a hammer; the family dispute that claim and say Esparza did neither. (Those who were later inside the home said the home was orderly and there was no evidence of destruction; the 18-yr. old sister said her brother never assaulted her.) After police arrived they assured the family that their son would not be harmed; a CIT officer arrived and allegedly tried to talk Esparza out of the home, without success. After two hours, the CIT officer authorized other officers to enter the home to take Esparza into custody. The officers claim Esparza charged them with the hammer, and Pineda shot him dead. The father said he heard five shots within minutes of the officers entering his home, but the family was kept waiting 4 to 5 hours outside, not knowing their son was dead because the officers would give them no information about his condition. An ambulance was finally summoned after about 3 hours. Esparza is the 1st person known to have been shot to death this year by a Harris County police officer. (media reports)

2014

Excessive and Deadly Force cases reported in 2014.

 

  • January 2014 Jordan Baker, an unarmed 26-year-old college student, shot and killed on January 16th by off-duty Houston Police Department (HPD) Officer J. Castro, an 11-year veteran who was providing security for the Northwest Houston strip mall where Jordan was killed.
  • April 2014 Joseph Roberts, 21, accused the Houston Police Department (HPD) of using excessive force and inhumane tactics to manhandle on April 16th in southwest Houston. Roberts claims that HPD officers rolled the police car over his body, leaving him with major internal injuries, including a broken pelvis, along with lacerations and skin being ripped from his back from the tires.

Roberts says that he was serious pain and informed HPD officers that he didn’t have any movement in his lower body and claims that officers pulled him out from under the police car and began to beat him, after hog-tying him.

 

Roberts was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, then with no explanation that has been provided to date, police removed him from Ben Taub and dropped him off at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Medical Center, where he wasn’t admitted under his own name, but under a fake alias name – James Rogers.  The Houston Forward Times (HFT) has seen the wrist band that was attached to Roberts’ wrist, where he had been admitted to Memorial Hermann under the fake alias name.

  • May 2014 Jason Lewis, 40, reportedly had extensive bruising over his entire body, including wounds the family said are from police hitting and kicking him. see Photo on Channel 11 website Channel 11 KHOU.com staff reported HOUSTON – A Houston family says their loved one died after being handcuffed and beaten while in HPD custody.
  • May 2014 Barbara Thomas claims she and her son were held at gunpoint, after HPD Cops busted into, raid wrong house.