Houston’s Activist Community Begins To Push #ByeDevon Campaign As The Election Nears

(Photo Credit: #ByeDevon Campaign)
(Photo Credit: #ByeDevon Campaign)

Houston Harris County: Across the nation groups and movements have been protesting against police violence for at least a couple of years now. The constant reports of minorities being gunned down by trigger happy officers mixed with the daily images that blanket social media with video’s of black/brown men/women being brutalized and murdered in cold blood has become the norm. It is almost expected and excepted today. These images continue to desensitized the masses who are eagerly looking for any tiny excuse to demonize the victim, echoing their strong support for the murdering gang in blue. The excuses for that support are pretty mind numbing. We live in a society where mainstream media pours disinformation and lies 24 hours a day. It doesn’t take much research to learn the truth and/or facts but this is our world today. The lazy, uneducated, desensitized, overly emotional, self centered, hypocritical, closed minded, biased, anti anything that’s not “Christian” or not white United States of America and many people are getting fed up with these types of individuals who continue to make our country look its worst.
I’ve constantly stated that education is key to waking up the masses. But as it seems, many of us are having to work overtime to fight against systematic racism and a judicial system that caters to the white community. Our numbers are small in comparison to other countries where a whole nation will show up to oust their corrupted gov’t or officials. Sadly, in Houston it’s even worse because of the laid back atmosphere and attitude of “well, I’m not affected so why bother”. Problem is, a large amount of people know someone who has been directly affected by systematic racism which had a domino effect into the oppressive judicial system, especially in Texas.

Meet Harris County DA Devon Anderson

(Photo Credit: #ByeDevon Campaign)
(Photo Credit: #ByeDevon Campaign)

Governor Rick Perry appointed Devon Anderson  as Harris County District Attorney on September 26, 2013 after Devon’s husband who was the original sitting District Attorney, had passed away. On November 4, 2014, Anderson was reelected to her first term which officially began in January 2015. In less than 3 years of her career as DA, Anderson has tarnished the city of Houston Harris County’s image when it comes to the judicial system and especially minorities. June 9, 2015 Devon Anderson dropped capital murder charges against Alfred Dewayne Brown and he was released shortly thereafter after being accused of murdering Officer Clark. The Texas Criminal Court of Appeals overturned Brown’s conviction in November 2014 because of evidence withheld during his trial in 2005. On August 2015, Anderson alongside Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman held a press conference after Officer Darren Goforth was murdered in Northwest Houston. In that press conference, both Anderson and Hickman pointed fingers directly at Black Lives Matter activists. This dangerous rhetoric caused many threats to trickle down to local Houston activists and forced a plea deal with the State by two local activists who would not have had a fair jury trial due to the sentiments led by Anderson and Hickman. Hickman later apologized for his statement however Devon Anderson went on record citing that she “refuses to apologize to Black Lives Matter” when local media contacted her office for a response to the demand for an apology by Houston activists. To date, BLM has yet to receive any kind of apology by Anderson. Anderson nearly leads the country in jail overcrowding and incarceration of black men in the Harris County Jail located in downtown Houston. Jail overcrowding has been so bad that there has been talk of moving some inmates to the Fort Bend County jail to help with the overflow of inmates. Not only does the overcrowding prove that Houston has a problem, but it is costing the taxpayer millions annually to house inmates in jail for something as small as jay walking, being homeless, not updating an address on a drivers license. Not to mention, Anderson’s overcrowded population comes largely by inmates who are waiting for trial but cannot afford to get bailed out. Basically it is an issue of the system oppressing the poor for the smallest of crimes. Though many complaints were launched to Devon Anderson, she continued to ignore these cries by inmates affected most along with their families. The most recent damning evidence of oppression by Anderson comes by a young rape victim who was placed in Harris Co jail after having a breakdown on the witness stand. Anderson claims that she was using this young woman as a witness to convict her rapist. Instead of seeing to it that the victim was cared for, to receive psychological treatment and more, Anderson threw the young woman in jail and tossed the key. The prosecutor was more worried about the victim disappearing, not testifying against the rapist so they put her in jail. The young woman received a black eye after being attacked by another inmate then was placed in segregation for protection. This only did more damage to the victim. Since it was learned that this took place, a lawsuit has been filed against Anderson/Harris Co. A District Attorney was more worried about her career and convictions than a rape victim. That alone should speak in volumes of her professional and personal character. Anderson has offered nothing but excuses since the lawsuit was filed and media began raking Anderson over the coals.


Our own black men murdered by police in Houston. (Top Left: Jordan Baker Bottom Left: Ashtian Barnes Right: Alva Braziel)
Our own black men murdered by police in Houston. (Top Left: Jordan Baker Bottom Left: Ashtian Barnes Right: Alva Braziel)

January 16, 2014, 26 year old Jordan Baker was riding around on his bicycle in northwest Houston. An off-duty officer Juventino Castro of considering Baker a suspect because he was a black man in a hoodie. Video released 13 months later by former city of Houston Mayor Annise Parker shows Jordan at a strip center, riding his bike. The grainy video doesn’t show any kind of confrontation however Officer Castro claimed that he “feared for his life when Jordan reached for his waistband”. The typical rhetoric that we hear each time a person is murdered by police. Jordan was unarmed. On January 23, 2014, Officer Castro was no-billed by a Harris Co Grand Jury. A civil lawsuit against the city was filed a month later by Janet Baker, mother of Jordan Baker.

April 28, 2016 Harris Co Pct 5 Officer Roberto Felix pulled over 23 year old Ashtian Barnes claiming that the vehicle had “toll violations” although Ashtian stated that the car he was in was a rental car. Video footage nor the officers name was never released until after a grand jury no billed officer Felix on August 31, 2016. Information was intentionally kept from the public because the county stated that they didn’t want the outcome of the hearing to be affected by releasing the name of the officer or the dashcam video. Felix claimed that Ashtian reached for his hand that was on his gun, which caused Felix to fear for his life and shoot Ashtian in the chest. Felix also claimed that Ashtian began to drive off which caused the officer to retrieve his weapon and begin shooting. Then the video was released on August 31st by Tommy Barnes, father of Ashtian Barnes. Tommy handed the video over to Black Lives Matter Houston who then made it public. In the video you see the officer bring up the toll violations. Ashtian explains that he’s in a rental car as he’s fishing through to find the rental contract for the officer. The officer then claims that the car “smelled of marijuana”. Again, we are all aware of the rhetoric used by officers who are racially profiling black and brown men/women. Moments later you see Felix pull out his weapon, killing Ashtian then the car starts moving which the officer jump onto the vehicle before the car came to a stop. Felix murdered Ashtian before the car began moving. It only began moving because the car was not placed in park. Once Ashtian was murdered, it caused his foot to come off the break, lunging the car forward. You also never see Ashtian’s hand anywhere near the officers belt, or anywhere outside. However a Harris Co Grand Jury announced around 10:15 a.m. that they no-billed the officer. The grand jury waiting room fell in silence by the many supporters who came to be with the family. Again, no justice for another black man murdered.

(Alva Braziel was murdered on July 9, 2016 however a grand jury has not formed to conclude whether the officers involved will be indicted for murder)

Time and time again, Anderson has issued statements in support of grand jury findings and police officers. It is business as usual for Houston’s top attorney. The redundancy has weighed on the Houston community, especially among the millennial generation. Fed up with a systematic racist and corrupted DA, it was decided that Houston launch their own campaign against Devon Anderson called #ByeDevon. In Chicago the people were fed up with their District Attorney building her career off the black community. They launched a #ByeAnita campaign and won! Anita was ousted out of the running for DA. Then days ago, a Florida State Attorney, Angela Corey, one of the most polarizing political figures in Jacksonville history who generated national attention and enormous criticism for her prosecutions of ( or lack thereof in Zimmerman’s case) George Zimmerman, Marissa Alexander, 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez and many others. Corey is noted as the cruelest prosecutor in the U.S.


Now it’s Houston’s turn to get rid of one of the worst DA’s Houston has ever seen. Anderson comes with a lot of excuses, throwing ADA’s under the bus to cover herself. As November nears, more and more people are learning about the DA and they are not happy, including individuals who are of her same party line, the Republicans. Through social media, there has been a large amount of Republicans who’ve spoken out against Anderson. We hope that the day following election night, we will have reason to celebrate. Gutting the system from within is crucial in changing this system. Make no mistake about it, Black Lives Matter Houston is NOT endorsing any candidate for DA. So whoever beats out Anderson better take heed of our complaints. We are always watching!

You can link onto the #ByeDevon campaign Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ByeDevon/

Groups involved with the #ByeDevon campaign can be linked here on Facebook:

Truth2Power https://www.facebook.com/truth2power1/

Black Lives Matter Houston https://www.facebook.com/BLMTexas/