Tag Archives: Ron Hickman

(Photo Credit: #ByeDevon Campaign)

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.

ANDERSON CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR MURDEROUS POLICE OFFICERS

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.

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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/

#ByeDevon Campaign (Images may be subjected to copyright))

Houston Launches Their Own #ByeDevon Campaign Against Harris County D.A.

Houston is one of the largest cities in the county, certainly the largest deemed in the South. It’s said that Houston is known for its diversity, civil manners, but also known for having one of the highest incarceration rates of the county in the country and State.  District Attorney Devon Anderson succeeded her late husband, Mike Anderson, and became Harris County’s District Attorney in September 26, 2013.

#BYEANITA – CHICAGO – REKIA BOYD & LAQUAN MCDONALD HISTORY

Anita Alvarez was elected as Cook County’s District Attorney in 2008. Chicago has been known for many years, to hold a high death rate due to gang violence. However, there are is also a large problem taking place in Cook County: Corruption of the DA’s office and the Chicago Police Dept. In 2012, a young black woman named Rekia Boyd https://twitter.com/hashtag/rekiaboyd?lang=en was murdered by off duty police officer Dante Servin on March 21, 2012. Servin called 911 at 11:49 pm to report a loud party in Douglas Park. Soon after, he approached a group of four people who were walking down an alley and harassed them for talking too loudly. He never identified himself as a police officer. The group turned to leave and Servin fired multiple shots from a 9mm firearm from his car, into the group. One bullet hit Boyd in the back of the head and killed her. DA Alvarez UNDERCHARGED Servin with involuntary manslaughter rather than the much deserved first degree murder. Because the officer was undercharged, Judge Porter had to throw out the case because Judge Porter felt the murder was intentional, which isn’t carried in an involuntary manslaughter charge. Alvarez wanted to carry favor with the Chicago Police Dept and she felt by assisting Servin in this matter, would gain her more friends than foes.

Rekia Boyd murdered March 21, 2012 by Chicago police officer Dante Servin who has yet to be charged adequately in her murder. (Photo may be subjected to copyright)
Rekia Boyd murdered March 21, 2012 by Chicago police officer Dante Servin who has yet to be charged adequately in her murder. (Photo may be subjected to copyright)

Laquan McDonald was a 17 year old black male who was also murdered by Chicago Police, under Anita Alvarez. October 20, 2014 McDonald was reported to have a 3 inch knife and was shot by Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke 16 times in 13 seconds as McDonald was running. Meaning McDonald’s back was facing the officer at a great distance, a distance that couldn’t use the excuse that the officer feared for his life. DA Alvarez ignored pleas to charge the officer accordingly. In fact, it took 13 months for the dash video to be released which clearly shows cold blooded murder by the hands of a police officer whose job it is to protect and serve.

17 Year old Laquan McDonald is murdered by Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, shooting McDonald 16 times in 13 seconds from 10 feet away. (Photo may be subjected to copyright)
17 Year old Laquan McDonald is murdered by Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, shooting McDonald 16 times in 13 seconds from 10 feet away. (Photo may be subjected to copyright)
17 Year old Laquan McDonald is murdered by Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, shooting McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014. (Photo may be subjected to copyright)
17 Year old Laquan McDonald is murdered by Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, shooting McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014. (Photo may be subjected to copyright)

By now, among many other issues that transpired in the DA’s office that were left unturned and/or many cases or intentional cover ups, corruption, refusal to go after violent police officers, the black men and women along with activist group,  Assata’s Daughters felt it was time to oust Cook County DA Anita Alvarez in which #ByeAnita was born. Alvarez was initially winning at the polls however after the #ByeAnita campaign launched, months later Anita Alvarez was ousted as DA after serving from 2008 through 2016, replaced by DA Kim Foxx after black lives successfully engaged the public, showing that Alvarez was crooked, filthy, a dirty politician, and most of all, she could no longer be trusted. The same individuals who’ve campaigned Alvarez out of office have echoed their sentiments to the new DA, Kim Foxx, that they will be watching her as well. To date, there are still no charges filed against Officer Dante Servin in the murder of Rekia Boyd.

#BYEDEVON – HOUSTON – JAIL

Harris County is the largest county in the state of Texas. Its also made up of many diversities. However, Blacks, who make up 18 percent of Harris County’s population, account for 48 percent of the jail population, according to charts distributed by the county. Is the county simply saying that Blacks are more prone to act criminally or is there a larger picture here that Houstonian’s are refusing to face. A Houston Chronicle investigation last year found that at any given time, as many as 75 percent of the jail’s 9,000 inmates have not been convicted of any crime but remain behind bars awaiting trial because they can’t afford to get out. (Source: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Jail-reform-tackles-racial-disparities-7247268.php) This is where systematic racism plays a role. Most men who are targeted are those who are non-white, living in poor neighborhoods and are frequently profiled by Houston Police officers. If officers target minorities, using their own discretion to arrest each individual, then most likely that individual coming from the these communities will not be able to afford their own attorney or get bailed out of jail which leaves them in jail until their trial date. So much for innocent until proven guilty. See below statistics:

Harris County Jail Pre Trial Population: 5,655 (66%)

» Number of Pretrial Defendants with Misdemeanor Charges: 380

» Number of Pretrial Defendants with State Jail Charges: 648

» Number of Pretrial Defendants with Felony Charges: 4,627

Average Cost to Harris County Taxpayers to Incarcerate the Entire Harris County Jail Pretrial Population, PER DAY: $333,645

This means we are footing the bill every day in cases of individuals who simply cannot afford to get out of Harris County Jail. Many of those cases are non-violent offenses, also many of them being traffic/driving offenses. However Harris County citizens are forced to pay because we have a District Attorney who refuses to release those who are truly not a threat to society. End result: Devon Anderson is costing us over a quarter of a million dollars daily. This means that we’re paying $121,780,425 annually.

DARREN GOFORTH MURDER – ANDERSON/HICKMAN’S ANTI BLACKLIVESMATTER RHETORIC

The rising of the Black Lives Matter movement, Houston begins taking action, peacefully. (Photo Credit: Burnell McCray - Photo's are subjected to copyright laws)
The rising of the Black Lives Matter movement, Houston begins taking action, peacefully. (Photo Credit: Burnell McCray – Photo’s are subjected to copyright laws)

On August 28, 2015 Harris County Officer Darren Goforth was murdered while pumping gas at a gas station located off of Telge, far Northwest Houston. Goforth was in uniform and was driving his patrol car. Speculations grew however nothing would shock us more than our local city officials hours after Goforth was murdered. Devon Anderson and Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman was out for blood and they did not care who they took down to get it. County officials, especially a top cop and a district attorney, should always study evidence and make sure anything they portray to the public is carefully worded. This didn’t happen the night of August 28th. Anderson and Hickman angrily greeted a room full of media asking questions to what happened in the murder of Goforth. Literally hours after his death, without gaining any substantial proof, Hickman and Anderson began pointing fingers in the direction of #BlackLivesMatter activists/movement. Houston had been hosting their own BLM actions over 12 months by that time. Shortly after they held their press conference, angry citizens who literally assumed BLM activists targeted Officer Goforth in an ambush, took to social media to echo their distaste for those involved in the movement. The majority of individuals who were angered used social media to air their issues with the movement, tossing insults and inaccuracies. Unfortunately, there were a few others who made it their life’s mission to not only target but to share private and personal information of those known in the Houston area for protesting against police violence, literally putting lives in danger due to reckless and harmful rhetoric. To date, Anderson has refused several times, to apologize to BLM activists in the Houston area.

Harris County Devon Anderson, Houston, TX (Images may be subjected to copyright)
Harris County Devon Anderson, Houston, TX (Images may be subjected to copyright)

SOUTHLAWN GANG INJUNCTION & JORDAN BAKER

Jordan Baker was a 26 year old black male, wearing a hoodie, on his bicycle the night he was murdered by Houston Police Officer Juventino Castro in January 2014. Baker did not have a weapon when he was murdered. Instead, Castro cited that Baker reached for his waistband and Castro shot Baker. “Reaching for the waistband” is a code largely used by police officers all over the country so the murdering cops could easily cite that they “feared for their life”. In fact, several former or retired officers have come out, confirming this code, making us aware that this is a taught effort to police officers. Nearly a year after Baker’s murder, a Harris County Grand Jury refused to charge the officer in the murder of Jordan Baker. Many are not aware how the system works when dealing with a grand jury. Grand juries have been known to be made up by former police, city department heads, and other closed door officials. It’s also the job of the prosecutor to give all information to these grand juries so that they may review all the evidence and charge or not charge without prejudice.  All too often, we’ve seen many DA’s and ADA’s not put forth enough evidence when it comes to police, done intentionally so that the officer doesn’t get a grand jury ruling that goes against them. Cops, ADA’s, and judges all work hand in hand. There’s a lot of favors given, a lot of cover-ups, a lot of oversights and purposely turned heads to cater to those who are misusing the system. The same was said in the case against Castro. This is why it’s rare we see an officer receive rightfully deserved charges when acting violent and oppressive. The prosecutor for the county simply doesn’t want to make enemies with the very same people that help them keep their jobs and no one wants the entire police department to turn against them, especially when you’re up for re-election. In Harris County, the last time an HPD officer was charged for a shooting was in March 2004, when Arthur Carbonneau was indicted in the death of 14-year-old Eli Escobar Jr. Carbonneau was convicted of negligent homicide in that case. Houston police officers have been cleared by Harris County grand juries 288+ times for shootings. Most judges in Harris County use a system to impanel grand juries that is discarded by nearly all other states because it can result in grand juries that are not diverse. More than a quarter of the 121 civilians HPD officers have shot in the last five years were unarmed. Most using the excuse that the “suspect” reached for their waistband leaving the officer to fear for their life. This means that under Devon Anderson and under her late husband’s watch when he was DA, that each of them have done nothing to protect citizens against murdering police. In fact it’s largely known that Anderson is a cop apologist no matter the circumstance. How safe should we feel with a DA who caters to oppressive police officers rather than the public she’s to serve?

26 Year old Jordan Baker was profiled and murdered by HPD officer Castro January 2014 (Harris County Devon Anderson, Houston, TX (Images may be subjected to copyright)
26 Year old Jordan Baker was profiled and murdered by HPD officer Castro January 2014 (Harris County Devon Anderson, Houston, TX (Images may be subjected to copyright)

The Southlawn Gang Injunction was implemented by Harris Co DA Devon Anderson and County Attorney Vince Ryan attempting to banish 42 black men from the community of Southlawn that sits south of downtown Houston. First off, it amazes me that two powerful attorney’s are rejecting the Texas Constitution which prohibits banishment of any kind in this state. (Texas Constitution: Article 1, Sec. 20) Anderson and Ryan backdoored the Southlawn community by initiating this case. Each never communicated with the Southlawn community themselves, and each have refused to attend community meetings over this matter after Anderson and Ryan were personally invited so the community could get an explanation. What’s worse is that many Southlawn businesses were listed on the case in favor of the gang injunction however, business owners who were interviewed by community activists were appalled when learning that the DA listed their name without consent. The businesses even claimed that no one from the DA’s office had ever come by to interview and/or confirm their stance. Why would DA Anderson and County Atty Ryan do this to the residents and business owners of the area? There are already laws in place for criminal activity should a specific individual perpetuate violence in that area. What this comes down to is money. If Mike is banished from his home then Mike cannot be home during special holiday’s, birthday’s, not even to take his mother to go vote. Mom will not continue to reside in an area where Mike is no longer allowed. When mom moves, then business is essentially affected. This isn’t something that will take place overnight and the city is aware that this takes time. In the coming years, it will force the area to be largely abandoned, giving free space to greedy land developers who’ve had their eyes on several of Houston’s Wards and other communities surrounding the downtown area. This is called gentrification. This takes place when a community is bullied/profiled by police and city officials so much so that they give up and move out. Soon you see these townhome structures built so tightly together, each costing $300k and more, turning these once own black communities into a largely unaffordable white upscale community, shredding any and all black history in the area as gentrification has been done in Third Ward.

Anderson and Ryan couldn’t care less about the Southlawn community, much less any poor community in Houston, and definitely do not care about black or brown individuals. If Anderson is so worried about crime, then maybe she should focus on those who are currently sitting in county jail on non-violent charges, release those individuals then focus on real criminals in Houston, INCLUDING MURDERING COPS! Harris Co Jail has been overcrowded so much that outsourcing inmates has been initiated to wing off the overflow rather than releasing the non-violent offenders. Anderson has proven herself to be a tool, arrogant, and definitely not a friend to the black and brown communities. There’s a reason why she’ll charge an individual with a felony drug charge if they have TRACE EVIDENCE of crack on them, however if you have trace evidence of cocaine, you’ll only be charged with a misdemeanor. We all know that crack is prevalent in black communities while cocaine is prevalent in white communities.

#ByeDevon Campaign (Images may be subjected to copyright))
#ByeDevon Campaign (Images may be subjected to copyright))

These are many of the reasons we want to say #ByeDevon. We will continue to push for Anderson to be ousted come November. What has been presented to you is only a fraction of what Anderson has done to serve her own agenda or the agenda of those who have funded/elected her in the past, while failing the public over and over again, especially the black community. 48 percent of blacks making up the jail population is not good and here we have a DA who claims to be fair and impartial. If we are successful in the #ByeDevon campaign, we also want to make aware to the new DA that we will be watching just as closely. It’s time to turn the page in Harris County. You can link to us here:

https://www.facebook.com/ByeDevon-127127871023178/

Stay tuned for more actions to come.

(The #ByeDevon campaign is not initiated by Black Lives Matter alone, but represents groups of all origins, cultures, diversities, etc, in the Houston area.)