HOUSTON A second surveillance video that appears to show a Houston police officer shoving and hitting a handcuffed man surfaced Thursday, prompting calls from local activists for a federal investigation.
This city has a systemic problem with police brutality and excessive use of force and violating the rights of young African-American men in particular, activist Quanell X said. The streets is crying out for justice.
The latest tape came a week after the release of another surveillance video that shows a group of HPD officers beating teen burglar Chad Holley during his arrest in a parking lot last year.
At a press conference held at the Community of Faith Gulf Coast Churchin Houston Thursday afternoon, Henry Madge, 27, gave his account of his arrest at an area hospital.
Madge said it happened two years ago, while he was at the hospital visiting his son, who was having an appendectomy.
Madge said he d gone to a public area to watch a church sermon online when he was approached by a security guard who told him to turn it down.
He said he did, but she asked him to turn it down again.
Madge said he told her if he turned it down any more, he wouldn t be able to hear it.
When the guard asked what he was doing there, Madge told her his son was a patient, but he didn t know the room number.
He said he offered to show her where the room was, but she called police.
In a surveillance tape of the incident, the officer is seen approaching Madge and putting him in handcuffs.
Madge said the officer cursed at him and slapped the cuffs on one hand in a rough manner.
I said, Look man, if you re going to do it like that, I m not going to give you my hand, Madge recalled.
But then Madge said the officer threatened him with his baton, so he allowed the officer to cuff him.
On the tape, the officer is seen escorting Madge out of the hospital. As they approach the door, the officer is seen shoving Madge to the floor and apparently striking him.
Madge said a total of three blows were delivered before the officer pulled him to his feet and led him out of the building.
Madge said when they got outside, the officer shoved him against a wall and pushed his face against it, saying You think you re tough. You think you re tough.
The officer took Madge to jail, where he stayed for three weeks on charges of resisting arrest.
Quanell X said those charges were later dismissed.
That s a trumped-up, bogus charge to justify this man being locked up. He was charged under the penalty of perjury by that officer who put a lie on this boy to justify whooping this kid, Quanell X said.
Madge said because of his incarceration, he lost his job.
He s never been in trouble a day in his life. A Christian man. He s in there not shooting dice, not smoking weed, not drunk on alcohol. He was sitting there alone in a chair, by himself, orderly, listening to a church sermon, Quanell X said of Madge.
According to court records, Madge was charged with assault in July of 2010 after he allegedly got into a fight at a flag football game. His next court appearance is set for March.
Quanell X and the other activists said the city needs a civilian review board with subpoena and prosecutorial power to make sure incidents like this don t happen.
These police officers are out of control, and something must be done to balance the playing field for poor people. This is happening to poor whites, poor Hispanics, poor African-Americans. If you re poor and living in a neighborhood that they know demographically is poor, anything can happen to you, Quanell X said.
The activists also called for the Department of Justice to investigate HPD s Internal Affairs Division.
As for why he waited until now to come forward, Madge said he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit.
There s a lot of people that are not alive to tell their story, and here I am alive, as a witness, and able to testify, he said.
Quanell X said Madge s tape is not the end. He said a third tape is on the way.
This is just the second, but stay tuned for the third, because there is more to come, brothers and sisters. This is a movement that will not die until complete and total constructive change takes place in the city of Houston, he said.
The activists said they plan to hold another town hall meeting next Tuesday, February 15, at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. They invited local leaders to attend. The meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m.
Early Thursday evening, Houston Mayor Annise Parker released a statement about the latest tape.
We are reviewing this video and continuing to gather information about this incident. I reiterate that police abuse will not be tolerated. Those who feel they have been a victim at the hands of Houston police should do exactly what this young man did and file a complaint with the Houston Police Department s Internal Affairs Division.
I am planning to update City Council on changes to the Citizens Review Committee in the near future, and I have asked Chief McClelland for a presentation on departmental training and personnel concerns processes. We are also placing a link on the city website to facilitate citizen access to the internal affairs process, the statement read.
A few hours later, HPD also released a statement:
When we obtain a copy of the tape, we will review it and the case files to determine the facts of this particular incident. We will conduct an investigation and any additional comments will be made in accordance with our normal investigative procedures.