Activists call for release of body camera video in deadly officer-involved shootings

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A group of community activists is calling on Houston police to release the body camera video from the recent officer-involved shootings.

Six people have been shot and killed by Houston police in the last month.

Community members said HPD Chief Art Acevedo promised transparency after the shootings and they do not believe that is happening.

"We pay for those body cams," said Shelby Stewart, a civil rights activist. "We pay for those vehicles and we pay for Chief Acevedo's salary. What's on those cameras deserves to be seen by the public. That should be our right."

"I am not saying that every single shooting is incorrect," said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen. "As a matter of fact, it looks like maybe one or two were correct. However, it is up to the public. The public must be able to see what the officers are doing, and we have to see each and every one of them."

Chief Acevedo has said that he does not plan to release the body camera footage at this point. He said in the event that criminal charges are brought on the officers, he does not want to have the trial moved out of Harris County. He also said he does not want the families of the people killed to have the video blasted to the public.

"We have a responsibility to the family," Chief Acevedo said after gospel singer Adrian Medearis was killed. "What makes you think that the family wants this to be the last thing in public? Their loved one, who's a church-going, God-fearing man, gets for whatever reason, we don't know what happened? I want that family to have a say in what they want. And I would say that they need to see it first before anybody else out here in the public sees it."

APRIL 21, 2020
Houston police officers shot and killed a 27-year-old man they say charged at them and was suicidal.

Police were called to the 800 block of Gazin near Market in east Houston.

According to Acevedo, the man was jumping in and out of traffic, trying to get hit by vehicles. Police say he also threatened some people in the neighborhood with a metal weapon, possibly a knife.

Officers say they tried to calm him down, but he wouldn't listen, so they used a Taser on him twice.

Police also fired bean bags, which aren't lethal, but can take down a suspect.

Investigators say the man charged at officers, who ultimately fired shots, killing him.

APRIL 27, 2020
A man was shot to death during a confrontation with police in east Houston.

Police described the scene at Lane and Dorsett as complex and dangerous. They are still investigating if officers shot and killed the man or if the man shot himself.

According to authorities, it all started around 12:40 a.m. when the man called 911, then could be heard shooting a gun and saying, "I'm reloading my piece, and I'm ready for y'all."

When police arrived, they say the man came out of the house and started firing randomly. He then sat on the back porch and continued firing.

Acevedo told ABC13 officers could not get the suspect to drop his gun. Nearly an hour later, officers thought the man was shooting at them, so they fired back.

The man was pronounced dead in front of the house.

MAY 8, 2020
A North Freeway driver was shot to death by a Houston police officer during a traffic stop.

It began when the officer pulled the 48-year-old driver over in a parking lot on Esplanade for going more than 90 mph around 1:05 a.m.

The officer administered a field sobriety test and determined Adrian Medearis was possibly drunk. The officer then tried to arrest him, and that's when a struggle broke out.

HPD says during the altercation, the officer pulled out his Taser and fired it, but at some point Medearis was able to get the Taser in his hands. Police say the Taser was ineffective because of the close range.

That's when the officer fired four rounds. Police say Medearis was hit at least twice.

MAY 14, 2020
A 30-year-old man thought to have a handgun when he was fatally shot by a police officer was holding a BB gun replica of a 9MM Beretta, authorities said.

Police were called to the 7400 block of Scott Street near Corder after reports of a suspicious person brandishing a firearm. The firearm was said to be a handgun at the time.

Acevedo said the man made a move for his weapon before the officer shot him several times. The man died at the hospital.

MAY 16, 2020
An elderly woman was stabbed to death in a southwest Houston parking lot and the man believed to have killed her also died after he was shot by a Houston police officer.

It happened after 10 a.m. in the parking lot of a Walgreens near the corner of Gessner and S. Braeswood Blvd.

The victim, 80-year-old Rosalie Cook, was stabbed in the chest outside of her car after shopping inside the store, according to Acevedo.

A police officer arrived a short time later and found a man inside the victim's car attempting to start it, Acevedo said. When the man refused commands and lunged at the officer with a knife believed to be 6-inches long, two shots were fired.

The man, later identified as Randy Lewis, died at the scene.

MAY 25, 2020
A man was killed in an officer-involved shooting after he allegedly pointed a gun at officers on Houston's south side. According to Houston police, at around 1:27 a.m. officers responded to an urgent call of an emotional man who had been drinking and had a gun.

When they arrived at the scene in the 6500 block of Capridge, officers saw a 38-year-old man with the gun. Officers say they gave him commands to drop the gun, but the suspect did not respond.

The suspect reportedly pointed his gun in the direction of three officers, who then fired shots at him. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

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