Grand jury clears officer in deadly Christmas Day shooting

August 9, 2012 3:58:39 PM PDT
A Houston police officer who killed an unarmed man during a confrontation on Christmas Day has been cleared by a grand jury.

And for the first time, we're hearing from the family of the man who was killed. They say they still doesn't have answers as to what happened Christmas night last year. And now, they may never know since the officer involved has been cleared of any charges by a grand jury.

"I'm going to spend the rest of my life making sure that we need to correct the system," Patsy Pate said.

She and her family want justice for her son -- Blake Pate-- who was shot and killed by Houston Police Sgt. Curtis Hampton.

"I'm, of course, missing my son very much. We certainly don't want this to happen to another family," she said.

According to Pate's attorney, David Hodges, there were numerous witnesses that night and not one was furthered questioned by the grand jury.

On Tuesday, the grand jury no billed Sgt. Hampton.

"The grand jury hears one side and that's HPD side, and in this case, while there were 19 witnesses apparently identified, zero were called," Hodges said.

There are conflicting reports as to what happened after the officer arrived to the scene that night.

Sally Ring, the police union attorney who represented the officer, says Sgt. Hampton felt threatened after a struggle with Pate and that's when he pulled his weapon and shot him.

Ring says the law in Texas is the same for everyone when it comes to using deadly force.

"If you are in reasonable belief that deadly force is about to be used against you, regardless of whether you actually see a weapon or not, then you are entitled to use deadly force," she said.

But the family of Pate says they believe Sgt. Hampton should be held accountable for his lack of sound judgment, saying Pate was not armed or intoxicated at the time of the shooting.

Hodges says Sgt. Hampton has been suspended from the police force multiple times in the past, once for a period of three months for unknown reasons.


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