Robbie Tolan goes before grand jury

March 30, 2009 3:53:01 PM PDT
It was a controversial police shooting. A Bellaire police officer shot Robbie Tolan in front of his home back on New Year's Eve. The cop mistakenly thought Tolan was in a stolen vehicle. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

On Monday, Tolan went before a grand jury investigating the shooting. When it's over, the officer who shot Tolan could be cleared or could be charged with a crime.

There's a lot Tolan and his family cannot say due to the sensitive nature of the grand jury proceedings. While he couldn't get into details of what was discussed, he did say he hopes members of the grand jury will keep an open mind.

Ever since the shooting that left him with a bullet lodged in his liver, Tolan and his family had said all they ever wanted was justice. Monday, after four hours with the grand jury, he and his attorney emerged from behind closed doors to make a brief statement.

"I am grateful to the grand jury for investigating the case," he said. "Beyond that, I can't say anything more. We just look forward to hearing their conclusion."

It's a conclusion that could take jurors another two weeks to reach.

Tolan couldn't say much more because the grand jury proceedings are supposed to be kept secret. They are held to determine if there's enough evidence to warrant any criminal charges.

"You don't shoot someone in the chest without knowing that's meant to kill," said Tolan's attorney, Geoff Berg. "There's no justification for it."

The Tolan family attorney believes Tolan was the victim of racial profiling. He was shot in the chest in front of his Bellaire home after police stopped him for driving what they thought was a stolen vehicle. It was not.

The shooting, he says, left him shattered physically and emotionally.

"I'm feeling a little better, but I have a long way to go still," said Tolan. "I'm not back to 100 percent yet or anywhere close to where I want to be."

The Tolan shooting prompted allegations of racial profiling. Several community activists, including Ministers Against Crime and Nation of Islam, protested the shooting and called it unjustified.

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