Council discusses officer-involved shooting

January 12, 2009 9:08:14 PM PST
Perhaps the most talked about and debated incident in the past few weeks in Bellaire was the shooting of a man by a police officer on New Year's Eve. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

That officer, who's white, thought the man, who's black, stole a vehicle. It turns out, he didn't.

On Monday night, the Bellaire city council talked about the shooting behind closed doors.

The Bellaire council members went into executive session to exclusively discuss the officer-involved shooting with the city attorney. The meeting last about two hours before council members adjourned.

Early on the morning of December 31, Robbie Tolan and a friend were in the driveway of his parents' home when they were confronted by a Bellaire police officer, who ran Tolan's truck license plate. He suspected the truck was stolen.

A few minutes later, Tolan lay shot in the driveway. The truck proved not to be stolen.

Tolan remains in ICU. He's made some progress. A tube was taken out of his lung in the last day or two, but it's still one day at a time and a bullet remains in his liver.

Before Monday night's meeting, there was a handful of protestors who walked the sidewalk in front of city hall, calling for justice. A couple demonstrating have called Bellaire home for 35 years.

"A huge tragedy," said Bellaire resident Robert Riquelmy. "A grave injustice."

"I would like the mayor to go to the hospital and tell the victim she's sorry," added Elaine Riquelmy. "This isn't admitting guilt or anything. It's just acknowledging a bad thing has happened and we're all very, very sorry about it."

"What we would hope from the city is that they would have the common human decency to apologize to this family, but to also look very hard into the police department's action and realize they have a problem and whether that's happening there right now, I don't know," said attorney George Gibson, who's representing Tolan.

"This is a tragic event and at this point, we don't have any new information to share," said Bellaire Mayor Cindy Siegel. "However, the city is eager to learn the results of the ongoing district attorney's investigation and until that time, we'll have no new information to share with you."

Attorneys for the Tolan family say they're urging Harris County DA Pat Lykos to move quickly. They've also requested documents and an interview with the officer. But so far, they haven't received either one.

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