Police Shootings

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday

Four Houston police officers were shot and wounded, and a fifth was injured, in a drug bust gone awry in a southeast Houston neighborhood Monday afternoon. Two of the officers were struck in the neck, but are reported to be in critical but stable condition.

Two suspects who police said initiated a gun battle were pronounced dead at the scene, according to Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Rose Baca / The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool

The trial of former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver continues this week in Dallas.

Oliver is facing murder charges for shooting into a car full of teenagers leaving a party in April 2017 and killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. The shooting is one of several controversial police shootings of black men, teenagers and boys that have grabbed national headlines.

But it’s rare that a case like this makes it to court.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Benjamin Crump, civil rights attorney. Crump gained national prominence by representing clients in some of the most important and contentious high-profile cases for African-Americans.

Crump talks about being an attorney, why he believes in fighting to preserve the advances in justice and equality that people of color achieved during the civil rights movement, and representing the families of African-Americans shot and killed by police.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Vanessa Bissereth learned of her cousin’s death in the newspaper.

“Of course it made headlines – ‘Teenager Killed’ – but there was no name,” she said. Her aunt had been calling her for five days to tell her what happened, but Vanessa hadn’t answered.

Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

On Saturday, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards went to a party near Balch Springs, Texas. He didn’t make it home that night. Officer Roy Oliver of the Balch Springs Police Department was responding to the sound of gunshots at the party when he opened fire on a car, killing Edwards, who was a passenger.

The officer reported that the vehicle was moving toward him aggressively. Now the police department says video evidence contradicts the initial report.

Mesquite High School yearbook/Facebook

After a police officer fatally shot an unarmed 15-year-old in the Dallas area Saturday night, Texas lawmakers are considering whether pending bills could prevent similar deaths — or if any legislative solution is even needed.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office will no longer bring all police shooting cases before a grand jury. Flanked by representatives of the local NAACP, police union and the Austin Police Department, District Attorney Margaret Moore announced the changes – effective immediately.

MellieRene4/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When Texas police are involved in a shooting – whether they shot the gun or not – they are mandated to report it to the attorney general’s office. But the legislator who sponsored the 2015 law acknowledges that it has no teeth. And one report has found that not all police departments are following the rules.

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From Texas Standard:

The use of lethal force by police, against people of color in particular, is deeply troubling the nation. Complicating the search for solutions is a lack of actual data. Nationwide, police haven't been keeping count of these incidents, leaving us with far more questions than answers. In fact, only two states require police to report officer-involved shooting deaths: California and Texas.

But police departments in both states have been violating the law. A new report from Texas State University has discovered hundreds of unreported lethal shootings in both states.

 


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Protests have erupted in Charlotte and Tulsa following police shootings of black men there.

Here in Austin, the memory of a police shooting of David Joseph, an unarmed black teenager, in February still lingers. And for Ketty Sully, Joseph's mother, each of these police shootings means having to relive her own son's death over and over again.