George Floyd was a human being and his treatment while in police custody was intolerable. It is up to the whole community of Minneapolis to hold the responsible police officers accountable to the full extent of the law. I look forward to justice in the courts for his killer and hopefully for those officers who enabled the act—an act that is not part of legitimate police training anywhere, an act of cruelty and lethality . . . an act of murder.
I saw Friday’s protests in Houston and witnessed a legitimate complaint brought by a grieving crowd with a First Amendment right who want to stop the bloodshed. They showed great restraint and I commend all peaceful protestors. Likewise, the police showed great discipline and, in the face of verbal abuse from some, turned the other cheek. Our prosecutors were in position, at the scene, and at our Intake Division, to respond to police when violent and disruptive individuals were arrested. We sought, along with HPD Chief Acevedo, the lowest possible number of arrestees. The result was far fewer arrests than initially reported by the media. Charges ranged from obstruction of a highway to assault on a peace officer.
As your District Attorney, I have a team of civil rights prosecutors exclusively dedicated to investigating every single instance of police-involved shootings. Our team goes to each scene, monitors the collection of evidence, observes the weapons used, being cleared, inspected, and tagged and performs a walk-through of the event as described by the witnesses. Every single instance will be subjected to a grand jury review of the investigation. Grand juries also have the power to demand additional evidence and further investigation.
So far in 2020, there have been 18 police shootings, and every single one will be subjected to grand jury review. Grand juries are one part of our civilian review process under Texas law and are now made up of randomly selected individuals. Trial juries provide the ultimate civilian review. These civilian reviews depend upon those called for jury service actually answering the call. Right now, the risk of COVID-19 has caused the Texas Supreme Court to postpone all juries until after August 1, 2020. That has not stopped us from working for you every single day to ensure justice for all. My office will continue to ensure that equal justice is done in every case involving police.
My heart is with George Floyd's family and loved ones as they mourn his terrible loss. May his memory fuel the efforts of everyone around the country who strive to make our systems more equitable and just.
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