For the third straight week grassroots organizations protested outside Houston City Hall presenting demands to city government for changes in police policy and independent civilian oversight. Protest and calls for change have escalated since the public release of a video tape of about a dozen Houston Police beating and stomping a Black teenager named Chad Holley. Community organizer Krystal Muhammad (New Black Panther Party) was quick to point out “the video only illustrates what we know to be a historically systemic problem with police terrorism in our communty, there are many other cases without video”.It even goes beyond problems within the Houston police department and encompasses all law enforcement agencies that police our community. One of the key components the coalition of groups has been pushing for is a independent civilian review board with subpena power, proper funding, investigatory and prosecutorial power.
Today justice seekers found few allies among Houston Livestock and Rodeo celebrants who were hosting a large event in front of city hall. A few jeers were heard as protesters marched straight through the middle of the gathering. No serious incidents were reported. Perhaps as a precursor of actions to come some speakers hinted that showing the ugly side of HPD brutality before national audiences such as the Rodeo is a direction for future protest.
Following the outside rally activists took their call for justice inside city hall chambers packing the room. Speaker after speaker called on the Mayor Annise Parker and CIty Council Members to take a stronger stand on independent oversight of HPD and included calls for her to ask for priority response from Attorney General Eric Holder. Her announcement of reconstituting the current civilian review board last week has been roundly rejected by diverse groups as a smoke and mirrors attempt to quiet community discontent. .
The National Black United Front (NBUF) has made the call for weekly protests entitled: “Black Justice Tuesday’s” and have been joined by a number of groups including: The New Black Panther Party, The Nation of Islam Mosque #45, Operation Outreach OG-1, The House of Greenwood , Black Heritage Society and others. This week NAACP head Dr. D. Z. Coffield and a number of other ministers joined the protest and called on the Mayor to support the community’s demands. . For more information about organizing around this important issue contact NBUF at. 713-402-8052