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I think I vaguely mentioned this in my post about Ryan Moats awhile back. For background read this.

Briefly, Robbie Tolan, 22 years old, drove home to his house on New Year's night. He lives in Bellaire, Texas, which is a wholely incorporated city within the city limits of Houston. He was followed home by some cops, who claim to have mis-entered his licence plate number in their computer. They said that the car he was driving (his car, totally legal, btw) was stolen.

He pulled into his own driveway, the cops pulled guns on him and his friend, his parents came out of the house to see what the hell was going on, one of the cops said something or did something to his mom, he moved in protest, and the cop shot him in the liver. (Please read the Real Sports piece, it gives much more detail.)

Robbie Tolan is black. The city of Bellaire has very few black people living in it.

Many people, including me, think that the cops there are racist assholes who will pull anyone who is brown or black over. Walking through the City of Bellaire traffic court tends to bear out this assumption, though apparently an independent study on the issue earlier this year is inconclusive. The city of Bellaire says that they're not racist assholes, and the population in their courthouse is reflective of the racial diversity of the surrounding Houston area.

At any rate, one of the cops was just charged with attempted murder, and the family says regardless of what happens, they're still going to sue.

Hairballs, the Houston Press blog, attended a press conference with the family's lawyers, and I tend to agree with this conclusion:
The cold, hard wind whipping from the west down Franklin Street all but blew the words of the attorneys and reporters down the street, but one salient point we got from this conference was the contrast between the handling of this case and the Ryan Moats fiasco in Dallas.

Again and again, Berg compared the two cases. In the Dallas case, both arresting officer Robert Powell and police chief David Kunkle immediately apologized to the Moats family. Despite asking for one on several occasions, the Tolans (who did not attend the press conference) are still waiting for an apology from Cotton or any representative of the City of Bellaire. And while Powell resigned two weeks after the Moats incident, Cotton was still drawing paychecks from the City of Bellaire as of this morning. "That continues to shock me," said Berg from the podium. "I think that says a lot about the City of Bellaire."
I tend to agree. I will note that as far as I know, there's not a dashboard video that's been released to the public in the Tolan case. I suspect that public outcry, and the way that video was so devistatingly conclusive in the Moats case, will change the way the City of Bellaire lets its cops operate.



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Apr. 6th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
I am SO glad they indicted him for this. This is a good step. But I agree, Bellaire has some really bad cops. And they also target those who drive cars that are not "nice" too. My son got a totally bogus ticket from them a couple of years ago.

I will just stay out of there, there's nothing there I want (Lathrops jewelry supply is great but...).

I would hope the city would change their management and police department.
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