Today in Houston…

The Mexican National Soccer Team (FIFA ranking: 17), will square off against Angola’s team (FIFA ranking:85) at Reliant Stadium. It’s a friendly match which means that

  • It doesn’t count for anything except extracting my countrymen’s hard earned lawn-mowing money
  • No Barkleyesque elbows will be flung in the direction of Angolan athletes.

Because it is my beloved Tri that is playing, expect to see this in the stands,

[Photo credit: Me. Took it during a México v. Belize match at Reliant Stadium]

The festivities will em, kick off later today.  No news if the wonderful folks at the so-called Minuteman Project will stage a whinefest.

That’s today in H-town, yesterday there was a protest led by none other than “local activist”, one might say “community organizer”, Quanell X.

As one might have guessed the protest had to do with racism, perceived or otherwise. Recently, a Bellaire officer, Jeffrey Cotton was acquitted of aggravated assault on Robbie Tolan, a Bellaire youth. Sgt. Cotton shot Tolan while the latter was in his front yard. By all accounts it was a misunderstanding, since Cotton believed that Tolan had stolen a car (the officer punched in the wrong tag number).

A confrontation ensued with the boy’s mother and the officer believed Tolan was reaching for a weapon and opened fire, wounding the young man. Personally, I believe the situation could have been avoided if Tolan had simply followed orders and waited for the misunderstanding to get cleared up.

Maybe it’s just me but if a cop tells me to do something, I’m going to do it and not put up any resistance. Remember folks, there are more of them than there are of you and they carry radios (not to mention guns). Besides, if you’re free of wrongdoing then that will come out in the wash, why aggravate the situation?

Quanell the Tenth decided to stick his nose in all this because Tolan is black and Cotton is white. At the protest, Mr. Tenth said,

This cop is a criminal, this cop should be in jail. If you shoot one more black man in Bellaire in cold blood, then your damn city will go up in flames.

I find his tone very interesting. Yes, it is possible that Cotton’s demeanor was influenced by the fact that Tolan is a young black man. Young black men and the police don’t seem to get along very well. I don’t find it outside the realm of possibility that the officer might not have been so trigger-happy if Tolan was white.

That said, Quanell the Tenth just made it more difficult for young black men in Bellaire. His passionate and extremely careless threat just paints a very negative image of blacks in the minds of Bellaire residents. In their minds, he’s painting an image (if not reinforcing) of black men as being violent, hot-tempered and not too hesitant to making threats. That’s a disservice to the very people he claims to represent.

To me, it’s very similar to when Muslims get their knickers in a twist when anyone suggests that some professing Muslims have violent tendencies.

As I’ve said before,

If someone says that you have a tendency to get out of control, and you don’t like it, then probably it’d be better if you didn’t get out control with your reaction…

How to Avoid Getting Shot by the Police

There are people who find it difficult to avoid getting shot by the cops so I will post a letter from a Houston Chronicle reader as a public service announcement.

Six Rules for Staying Alive
As a retired homicide detective, I can advise that if a person doesn’t want to be killed by a police officer, follow the six “D’s”: Do what the officers says, do not resist, do not run away, do not fight, do not display a weapon and do not attempt to take the officer’s weapon.

That’s how to stay alive. — John Swaim (Spring)

It’s that simple, and you can actually observe the wisdom of Mr. Swaim’s words by watching an episode of “Cops”.

Man shot down by Houston Police

While the title of this post seems to indicate that an injustice has taken place, the course of the investigation will bear this out. To be sure though, any loss of human life must be viewed as a tragedy.

The Houston Chronicle ran a story on this unfortunate incident,
“HPD officer shoots, kills naked man who chased him”

After reading the story, I noticed some characteristics of police shootings (in Houston at least).

1) The perhaps understandable picture of outrage of the family of the deceased
311xinlinegallery.jpgHouston Chronicle

The picture of course shows the ones stand the most to lose, the kids.

2) The victim is a black man who was first tasered then shot

  • some actually think that the police have nothing better to do than to go around tasering and/or shooting black people for no good reason; given the history of race relations in this country I don’t blame them but their reactions makes me think of the boy who cried wolf.

3) Quanell X is somehow involved

  • Enough said. Though in this case his involvement is a head-scratcher given that there is no suspect who Quanell can convince to turn himself in so Mr. X can collect the reward money. I say this because Quanell, not to mention his Hispanic counterpart, Rodolfo X were uncharacteristically silent after Officer Rodney Johnson was killed in the line of duty by an undocumented immigrant.

4) An eyewitness (or 2 in some cases) has an account of the events which differs or contradicts the official police statement, which by the way, the people in the dead man’s community aren’t buying,

“You’ll have to come up with a better story than that!” one person shouted… Relatives at the scene Thursday afternoon were skeptical of the police officer’s version of the events.

5) The paper strangely left out the fact that the dead man (who was acting rowdy) weighed almost 300 pounds.

  • I’m not sure how much the police officer weighed but how do you control a non-compliant and naked 270 lb. man when even the taser doesn’t work?

6) Friends and family of the deceased are shocked that he would do any of the things in the police’s account (in this case getting undressed and chasing the police officer)

  • This from a cousin,

“Every time you saw him he had a smile on his face and he always wanted to give you a hug,” said Evelyn Swan, the slain man’s cousin. “He is not a rowdy person.”

  • From the man’s father,

Smith’s father, Raymond Sr., said he could not explain his son’s behavior as it was describe by police. He said that his son did not have a history of mental illness and was not on any medications.

7) The fond memories family members have of the deceased tend to ignore or conveniently forget the man’s past criminal record and/or prison time.

Court records show Smith had a criminal record dating to 1995–eight convictions, half of them on drug charges… and served almost all of a two-year prison sentence, records show.

  • I realize that the man’s history does not make the police’s account true, but it does not make it outrageous either. I like what the father said about medications in the face of his son’s most recent charge in 2003,

He pleaded guilty in June of that year to the manufacture an delivery of less than a gram of a controlled substance

I guess a controlled substance isn’t really medication?

While this is a sad, sad story it is one more reminder of a good rule of thumb: If a cop asks you to do something, do it.

Don’t get naked (allegedly), don’t run away (allegedly), and for sure don’t start chasing the cop (allegedly).

Remember, there are a lot more of them than there are of you.