By Kofi Taharka
National Chairman – National Black United Front
Houston, Texas---The Black Justice Tuesday Coalition (BJTC) made a public response to the recent report that the United States Justice Department is investigating several cases of police use of excessive force by the Houston Police Department.
Anthony Childress, whose case is under investigation, expressed doubts about the outcome. “I have little faith in this system to produce justice for me or the other cases”. Childress whose beating by police produced the loss of six teeth and a fractured jaw became emotional when speaking about his experience. “It has been very hard to live with the physical and emotional scars from my beating”.
Krystal Muhammad Chairwoman of the Houston Chapter of The New Black Panther Party (NBPP) was flanked by representatives from the National Black United Front (NBUF), S.H.A.P.E. Community Center Council of Elders, Millions More Movement, Anti-Death Penalty Movement, Operation Outreach OG1 and members of the community.
“For the Department of Justice to finally investigate these cases is long overdue. There are thousands of cases of deadly and excessive force by the Houston "Pig" Police Department that also need to be investigated as well. There is a culture of racism and classism that is at the core of all of these cases” said Krystal Muhammad.
Ali Muhammad of NBUF reinforced the nearly 100 straight week protest calling for transparency in the way complaints are investigated.
The BJTC says an Independent Civilian Review Board with subpoena power, prosecutorial power and proper funding is a tool that can help curve the unchecked power of the police. The Coalition also calls for changes in regulations such as requiring all Houston police to live in the City of Houston, proper psychological testing of police and general decentralization of power and authority in HPD. Participants called for clarity about the announced investigations “When will they start? When will they end? What role will the public play in the final outcome?”
The diverse group assembled included Cindy Payton the lady who turned the now infamous tape of Chad Holley being beaten by HPD officers over to community activist Quannel X. The public release of this tape has unleashed a swarm of protest, community meetings, civil disobedience and calls for justice over the past two years.
The BJTC has been crystal clear that there actions over the past two years have been directed towards structural change towards a system that represents decades of injustice.
Activist Deric Muhammad who worked with Annica Lewis and Sebanstian Prevot challenged the Justice Department to prove the community skepticism wrong by coming back with meaningful charges against Police who use excessive force. The brutality case of Lewis and Prevot is also under review by the Justice Department. The BJTC raised its voice loudly in protest when Brian Claunch a double amputee with a history of mental illness was killed by HPD earlier this year. His death is also under investigation by the Justice Department.
The BJTC which protest against police brutality every Tuesday at 12 noon in front of the Harris County Court House 1201 Franklin was received well by the crowd that gathered around the press conference.
Forward Ever, Backward Never!