fbpx

TOP Presents Reform Demands to Chief Hall

David Villalobos, a campaign coordinator for the Texas Organizing Project, made the following statement in response to an organizational meeting with Dallas Police Department Chief Hall:

“Having publicly called on Chief Hall’s resignation following her reaction to the June 1st peaceful protest on the Margaret Hunt Bridge, a group of Texas Organizing Project members, staff, and supporters met with Chief Hall yesterday afternoon.  Our intent was to address the police response to protests and the overall state of policing in Dallas.  As torch-bearers in the social justice movement, we came to the meeting with these demands:

  1. Stop arresting protestors, even when on a roadway.

  2. Ban the use of any projectile or tear gas

  3. Ban the tactic of kettling

  4. Stop working and coordinating with DPS State Troopers, whether it be protests or in Dallas neighborhoods.

  5. Publicly support the implementation of cite and release for eight eligible offenses under Texas state statute 16.04

  6. Support the reallocation of some of DPD’s budget to address underlying social-economic factors in communities. “

Patricia Ward, a Texas Organizing Project member who was present said, “while there was no commitment and additional follow up will happen around the matters pertaining to the protests and state troopers, our organization was encouraged to learn Chief Hall supports the implementation of the eight cite and release eligible offenses under Texas statute 16.04, and that she is open to identifying opportunities to find money within the current police budget and outsourcing some police responsibilities. While there was disagreement over the term defunding, there was agreement that social-economic issues need to be addressed by other means than the use of police. We look forward to having more constructive conversations with Chief Hall in an effort to keep the Dallas Police Department accountable to the people they serve. Our fight for justice is righteous, and we won’t stop demanding an end to police brutality and racial disparities in policing because our lives depend on it.”

###

Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.

TOP Demands Independent Investigation of Latest Deadly Police Shooting

The Texas Organizing Project is asking for an independent investigation of last week’s shooting death of Nicolas Chavez by Houston police officers.The shooting was captured by a bystander’s video, and shows a man on his knees getting shot by police.

“The investigation announced by Houston Police and the district attorney’s office is not good enough,” said Angela Johnson, a TOP leader from Houston. “Frankly, the community will not have faith in the integrity of an investigation conducted by the police and the DA that exonerates the police officers. We ask the police and the DA to show that they have nothing to hide by bringing in an independent investigator.”

TOP also asks that all video of the shooting be released to the public as soon as possible.

“The people of Houston need to be reassured that the police will be completely transparent about this shooting, that they care about earning the community’s trust,” said Carmen Ivonne, a TOP leader from Houston’s East End. “We’re willing to give the police the benefit of the doubt, but they need to trust us too by giving us access to all the investigative materials. The police shot this man in our name, and we deserve to know if it was justified.”

###

Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.

This press release was sent out May 1, 2020.

Sign TOP’s Right2Justice petition to save lives and reduce the spread of coronavirus

For jails and detention centers across Texas, the coronavirus pandemic is becoming an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The health and safety of those who are incarcerated and the staff members who work at these facilities requires that state and local governments act with urgency to mitigate this pandemic.

Already, officials at Texas prisons and detention centers have reported that inmates and guards have tested positive for COVID-19. The CDC health guidelines that call for social distancing and other critical health measures to protect people are incredibly challenging to implement in these facilities. The fact that conditions of confinement can make it near impossible to provide for the health and safety of people in these facilities means that Texas must do better.

We urge you to sign this petition and support the five recommendations listed below:

  1. Release people awaiting trial: Immediately implement a policy that requires the release of all people who are awaiting trial, unless there is clear evidence that release would present an unreasonable risk to the safety of the community.
  2. Release people who are medically vulnerable: Jails house large numbers of people with chronic illnesses and complex medical needs. Immediately release all elderly people and populations that CDC (Center for Disease Control) has classified as vulnerable, as well as pregnant women, unless there is clear evidence that release would present an unreasonable risk to the safety of the community.
  3. Reduce incoming people who can be diverted or delayed: Decline criminal charges whenever possible and encourage the use of alternative solutions.
  4. Increase the rate of release for incarcerated persons: Safely and thoughtfully fast-track release for incarcerated persons who are within six months of completing their sentences and are not considered a threat to public safety.
  5. Increase use of non jail sentences for immigrants: Consider the health of all people, including the undocumented community. Default to sentences that don’t include jail time wherever possible, including implementing resolutions that avoid immigration detention where outbreak potential is highest.

Your commitment sends a powerful message to communities across Texas that we are in this together, and that officials at all levels of government need to be fully committed to doing what is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of all Texans.