Houston Police Killed 6 People in Just Six Weeks

Originally posted on Liberation News:

Houston protesters demand accountability after recent spate of racist police killings

By Caleb Granger

Hundreds of protesters took to Houston’s streets for four days over Labor Day weekend, continuing the fight for justice for those killed by the police. The actions took place across the city and were hosted by the People’s United Renaissance Party.

Earlier this year, within a period of just six weeks, Houston police officers shot and killed at least six different people, all of them either Black or Latino.

In April, four cops shot 27-year-old Nicolas Chavez a total of 24 times while responding to a call of a “suicide in progress.” Chavez was on his knees when police killed him.

In the same month, 35-year-old Joshua Johnson was house-sitting for his parents when a plainclothes police officer rolled up on his house in an unmarked car, shot him multiple times, killing him. The police say Johnson wielded a gun, but the only eyewitness is the cop that killed him, and he was not wearing a body camera.

Just five days later, 28-year-old Christopher Aguirre was killed by HPD on his front porch; Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo claimed there was no bodycam, only helicopter footage of the incident.

In May, police killed Adrian Medearis, a 48-year-old choir director and well-known Houston gospel singer, during a traffic stop. 

Just days later, a group of cops harassed 30-year-old Rayshard Scales while he waited at a Metro bus stop. Officers “claimed he was in possession of a weapon” (which later turned out to be a BB gun, and even this is unconfirmed) and shot him multiple times. 

Actions took place over the four days outside of HPD headquarters, at major downtown locations, at City Hall, in Houston’s historically Black Third Ward and in Montrose (Houston’s “gaybourhood”) to draw attention to police violence and gentrification that specifically targets Black LGBTQ people. Police attempted to intimidate protesters by following marches with multiple officers and driving large vans designed to hold about a dozen or so people, but protesters were undeterred. 

At one action outside of HPD headquarters, protesters marched through the streets chanting “Black lives matter” and “Defund HPD” as onlookers on the sidewalks raised their fists in a show of solidarity. An organizer took to the megaphone to declare: “What we want is a world post-police. What we want is a world post-prisons. What we want is a world where we take care of each other, where the state exists to take care of its citizens, where we don’t need to lock people up in cages to police behavior and we can address the real causes of the pain that leads to violence. In a world like that, we won’t have to say that Black lives matter, but now we have to say that Black lives matter because the world doesn’t affirm that on a daily basis. We are going to let the Houston police department know today that we will not allow them to continue to abduct and assault Black residents, Black Texans, and Black lives.”

Even as protesters were in the streets, Houston police were working to put a spin on the dash-cam footage from Nicolas Chavez’s killing before its release. Five months after his death, and a week after the Labor Day protests, HPD finally released the final moments of Nicolas Chavez’s life. The footage shows Chavez, who was allegedly trying to harm himself, being tased and shot with bean bag rounds and 24 rounds of bullets. The four officers responsible for his death were fired several hours before the video was released to the public, five months after the killing. No criminal charges were filed. Predictably, the Houston Police Officers’ Union is defending the cops who carried out this brutal execution and calling their firings “unjust and deplorable.”

Houston activists are mobilizing a massive push for the city to renegotiate the Houston Police Union contract which goes into effect January 2021. This new contract essentially gives the police union the power to clear officers of misconduct. The struggle continues!

10 thoughts

  1. As an outside observer, I can say that it is good to know that something beyond “minority groups”, “angry black youth”, is happening there; not especially as the western liberal press reported in first mounths. Although we do not read these news, the headlines are stuck in our eyes. Thanks for having you on the field with first hand trustful news, us to overcome information pollution, my earthling friend.:)

    Why I said “beyond that”. Because what you stated at the beginning of the article, “Hundreds of protesters took to Houston’s streets for four days over Labor Day weekend, continuing the fight for justice for those killed by the police,” is important.

    Because the concentration of actions over Labor Day weekend, shows the awareness of people that the destruction created by exploitation via racism, which has inflicted on African or Hispanic Americans and all immigrants, is actually being done by capitalists to provide cheap labor and done to everyone in many ways, regardless of skin color.

    For example, during the pandemic last winter, many actions, especially done by healthcare professionals in the US took a unifying place for anti-racist actions. Race, religion, language discrimination has all come to be perceived as exploitation of the all oppressed by whites; because the workers all are in same ship. Which I think is a very good thing.

    Because the only way to get rid of police violence is to eliminate the class inequality.

    Here I have two questions,
    First, how many of those who participate in these actions are democrats? So if they are in the majority, this would be a strange situation. They should be aware that if the other slaves of capital, so the democrats, if come to power in the near future, they will do something as hoodwink in beginning and after then will say, “Ok now children, that’s enough for protest, go back your homes”.

    Second, how many of the protesters are aware that this is a system problem?

    Oh sorry, there is one other question of mine. Why you changed your profile photo again my friend? If it goes this way, I won’t be able to recognize you soon.😁

    1. I would say that a good number of the people participating are probably registered Democrats, but many are waking up to the fact that the Democrats are but the other side of the capitalist coin. You see all progressive people are aware that the Republicans are not their friends. Democrats, however, attempt to co-opt every social justice movement in the U.S., and now they are telling people that police violence and white supremacist terrorism will be solved by voting for Democrats and Joe Biden. This is in spite of the fact that protestors are being viciously attacked, brutalized and imprisoned in cities run by Democrats!

      I’d say most of those on the ground are indeed aware the problem is systemic. Those who choose to stay home and chastise people to “just vote” on the other hand seem to believe all these issues will miraculously get better and leave with Donald Trump.

      Also I changed my profile pic just so I have a mask on. We are in a pandemic after all.

      1. Thank you for your time and detailed response. And, I hope the American people’s quest for freedom and justice create an option with a socialist program that will abolish exploitation, also ensure a life without racism and inequality, and of course rise with the working class.

  2. THis stuff has to cease! Time for the people to demand that the cops return to “protect and serve” and not the motto these days “punish and enslave”…..nice to see you posting again…I do hope all is okay with you. chuq

    1. Yes all is well. You know I just go through a period where I can’t concentrate enough to post. And sadly the “protect and serve” is what the police are doing, protecting the property of the ruling class and serving these white supremacist institutions.

      1. Good one….and I see where you are coming from….I wrote extensively a few months ago about police reform and such……it is massively needed and NOW! chuq

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