Rally calls for justice in Bellaire police shooting case

Dozens of people called for justice in the Robbie Tolan case. He's the young man shot by a Bellaire police officer nearly 6 years ago
Dozens of people rallied outside the federal courthouse downtown, calling for justice in the Robbie Tolan case. He's the young man shot by a Bellaire police officer nearly six years ago.

Tolan was shot on New Year's Eve back in 2008 in his parents' Bellaire driveway after a white officer mistakenly took him for an armed car theft suspect. The officer who shot Tolan, Sgt. Jeff Cotton, was acquitted of any criminal charges. An appeals court is reconsidering a civil suit against that same officer.

On Tuesday, protesters used chants and signs to make their point about racial profiling and continuing to seek justice in Tolan's case. The rally lasted about an hour and focused on a theme the entire country has been talking about since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Attorney Benjamin Crump says Tolan's case is worse than Brown's.

Tolan told Eyewitness News victims like him don't usually live to tell their side of the story.

"Nine times out of 10 the victims are dead so when you silence the victim, you silence the truth. And so more often than not, you have only one side or a third party talking about the case and facts and whatnot. Here you have a living witness and another side," Tolan said.

Tolan, his lawyers and his family will be back here in federal Court for a hearing Wednesday. Meanwhile, William Helfand, the attorney for officer Cotton, issued the following statement:

"I don't think I can say it any better than the federal judge who explained that it is unfortunate Mr. Tolan was injured as a result of his own threatening actions during a time that was tense and uncertain for the police officers arriving on the scene of reported felony and, as a Harris County jury that heard all of the evidence found, Sgt. Cotton's actions were in clear compliance with the manner in which police officers are trained.

"A careful reading of the subsequent appellate decisions makes clear that no court has disagreed with either of those findings."
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