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Houston dedicates plaza to Joe Campos Torres nearly 45 years after he was killed by police

Vietnam veteran Joe Campos Torres was beaten and killed by Houston police in 1977 after an arrest for disorderly conduct.

HOUSTON — The City of Houston formally dedicated a new trail, park and plaza downtown to the memory of Joe Campos Torres, the Vietnam veteran who was killed by a group of Houston police officers more than 44 years ago.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said it has taken a lot of patience, love, and healing to get to this point while holding the plaque that will greet visitors to the site.

Torres was arrested for disorderly conduct on May 5, 1977.

Six Houston police officers arrested Torres and beat him in a secluded area downtown, according to records. Officers took Torres to jail, but were turned away and told to take him to the hospital.

Instead, records say the officers beat him more and threw him into Buffalo Bayou where a boater discovered his body a few days later.

RELATED: 'Straight up murder' | HPD Chief Troy Finner publicly apologizes to family of Jose Campos Torres

"He was in the water for three days," said Torres' nephew Richard Molina.

Two officers were convicted of negligent homicide and three others were convicted of violating Torres' civil rights.

A year later, all of them received light sentences, which sparked the Moody Riots.

A cousin of Torres spoke at Saturday's dedication.

RELATED: 'It's better now than never' | City of Houston apologizes for police killing of Joe Campos Torres

"This day is not only important for our family, but for other families that have to deal with police brutality," the cousin said. "This memorial will be the next best thing to justice for our family and hopefully help future generations of young people.

The new memorial is on Commerce Street close to the spot where Torres was thrown into the bayou.

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