Video: Unarmed Black Man, Danny Ray Thomas, Fatally Shot By Houston Police

by Kim Boateng Last updated on April 8th, 2018,

Houston, Texas, USA: Bystander video shows the killing, by a Harris County deputy, of an unarmed black man, 34-year-old Danny Ray Thomas, Thursday, 17600 block of Imperial Valley Road, 1 p.m. in the 17600 block of Imperial Valley Road, Greenspoint area of North Houston. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jason Spencer said Thursday that no weapon was recovered at the scene.

Footage of the killing taken by a bystander has been made available to the public, but the Sheriff’s Office has not yet released the officer’s name or his dash- or body-camera footage.

The Houston Police Department confirmed Friday that the deputy fired one shot at him killing him.

Thomas was “walking in the middle of the intersection of Imperial Valley and Greens Road with his pants around his ankles, talking to himself and hitting vehicles as they passed by,” according to a press release Friday from HPD, which is leading the investigation because the shooting occurred within city limits.

“Thomas then struck a white vehicle, and the driver exited and engaged in a physical altercation with the suspect,” Houston Police said. The deputy saw the altercation and stopped his car.

HPD said Thomas ignored verbal commands from the deputy and “continued to advance” toward him.

“Fearing for his safety, the deputy discharged his duty weapon, striking Thomas once in the chest, ” Houston Police said.

Family members said Danny Ray Thomas was the father of two young children who died in 2016 after their mother allegedly drowned them in a bathtub.

Family members said two of Thomas’ children – Kayana Thomas, 5, and O’Raylan Thomas, 7 – died in 2016 after their mother allegedly drowned them in a bathtub at their home in the Third Ward. The mother, Sheborah Thomas, is awaiting trial for the two capital murder charges filed against her.

Marketa Thomas, who said she was the victim’s sister, said Thursday she had relied on her brother as they both struggled with depression. She said that there is “no justification” for her brother’s death.

“Knowing that he was OK when I woke up every day made me fine,” she told reporters at the scene. “And knowing that my brother is no longer here – you think I’m going to be fine? I’m not going to be fine. That’s my brother.”

“That’s my flesh and my blood,” she said through tears. “We’ve been through everything together. He had my back through everything. And he promised me he wouldn’t leave me, and he didn’t leave me. Somebody took him from me.”

“It’s difficult to imagine how this shooting could possibly be justified. We must demand that our law enforcement agencies, who are sworn to protect our communities, be held accountable whenever deadly force is used unlawfully,” said Sharon Watkins-Jones, director of political strategies of the ACLU of Texas. “But whatever the excuse, another unarmed black man has been killed by law enforcement, in the street and in broad daylight, and the only reason we know about it is because of bystander footage. In the immediate term, we call upon the Harris County Sheriff to release the officer’s name and any audio and video recordings to the public. The Houston Police Department must conduct a full and transparent criminal investigation into this matter. In the longer term, HCSO must revisit its use of force policies to prioritize the sanctity of human life, to require patience of its officers, and to demand that lethal force only be used as a last resort. Danny RayThomas should not have been killed, and with proper training in place, he wouldn’t have been.” The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, said in a statement.

EARLIER: Decynthia Clements: Video Shows Illinois Police Fatally Shot Black Woman As She Stepped Out Of Burning Car – Elgin, Illinois, USA: Elgin Police Department video – which contradicts earlier police statements – shows 34-year-old Decynthia Clements, a black woman, was gunned down by Lt. Christian Jensen, the moment she stepped foot out of her burning car during a traffic stop. Before the video was released, Elgin police Monday morning said at a news conference that a woman armed with a knife was fatally shot by Elgin police Monday morning on the Jane Addams Tollway. Elgin police said the incident started around 12:30 a.m. Monday after officers made contact with a suspicious vehicle at Cedar Avenue in Elgin.

During the encounter, police said Decynthia Clements fled. Officers chased her initially, but then gave up. Clements’ vehicle was then spotted on westbound I-90 near Route 25. Elgin officers made contact with Clements and observed she was armed with a knife, police said.

Police say they then “disengaged immediately,” and tried to negotiate with her for over an hour. During that time, police said Clements would move her vehicle up several feet. At one point, officers noticed a fire had started inside the vehicle.

Illinois State Police say the are now investigating exactly what happened. Her family says she was shot multiple times.

Clements was transported to St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates where she was pronounced dead.

The officers were wearing body-cams, which have yet to be reviewed.

The Elgin Police Department provided a photo and released the name of the officer involved in the shooting. The officer who fired the fatal shots is Lt. Christian Jensen, is a 19-year veteran of the department.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Clements’ family is extremely upset about her death. They said the shooting was uncalled for, and described her as a very small woman — being less than 100 pounds and about 4 feet 11 – not a threat to trained officers who had shields and body armor.

Clements’ family said they are searching for answers. They don’t understand why police didn’t better de-escalate the situation.

“It’s too many unanswered questions and there’s too many pieces that’s not falling together,” Chevelle Clements, the victim’s brother, said.

Her family said she was a loving mother to her 21-year-old son and was a caring sister. Her brother said the situation wasn’t handled properly, and they want justice.

“You can say, ‘Oh the car was on fire, well she had a knife,’ but what did y’all do to de-escalate the situation besides shoot her dead?” her brother said. “There’s no reason my little sister should be dead.”

All lanes were blocked on westbound Jane Addams near Route 25 for several hours following the police-involved shooting, but have since been reopened.

This is the same week that Sacramento, California Police shot Stephan Clark, 22, as he was waiting for a family member to open the door to his own home.

Author

Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

With a Degree in Environmental Sciences, Kim the self professed jack of all trades and master of some simply "goes there" and brings a level of attention and detail to Nigeria Circle's quest for excellence in investigative journalism that sets her apart. Before journalism she worked in Safety, Quality Assurance and Control in several industries.
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