First, let’s be clear: Black lives matter even when they’re accused of felony crimes. Black lives matter even when they run from cops. Black lives matter and cops don’t get to just gun them down as a reflex.
29-year-old Jalen Randle was shot and killed in Houston, Texas, last week and his family is outraged and looking for answers. And they should be on both counts.
According to KHOU 11, The Houston Police Department said a tactical team was looking for Randle on the morning of April 27 because he was wanted on three felony warrants.
Officers said at about 2 p.m. that day, they saw someone who resembled Randle get into the passenger seat of a car and take off.
Officers said they attempted to perform a traffic stop but the driver refused and a chase began. The chase didn’t last too long before ending on Josie Street near Ledwicke.
That’s when police say Randle got out of the passenger side holding a bag.
One officer then shot Randle who later died at the hospital.
After the shooting, police said they found a gun in the bag Randle was holding.
So, just to recap: Randle got into a car. For a short while, the car Randle wasn’t driving failed to stop for police. Once it did stop, Randle got out holding a bag and a cop shot and killed him. Either there’s a lot of story missing between the moment Randle got out of the car and the moment he was shot—or a cop murdered this man.
But based on what has been reported by police so far, it doesn’t matter that they found a gun in the bag. Unless these were super cops with x-ray vision, they didn’t know what was in the bag, and even if they did, a gun inside a bag doesn’t pose an immediate threat necessitating an officer to shoot.
A police officer saw a bag, not a weapon, and still figured they had the green light to snuff out a Black life. (Who cares, because he may or may not have committed felony crimes, amirite?)
“Let me be crystal clear. The gun they found stayed in the bag,” said Quanell X, the leader of the New Black Panther Nation in Houston and a local activist who has also been involved in the search for 24-year-old Felicia Johnson, a Black woman who went missing on April 15 after she was last seen at a Houston nightclub where she was reportedly looking for work.
Quanell also told KHOU that “there was nothing that took place out here that day that justified lethal force,” and, obviously, Randle’s family agrees.
“I just want y’all to tell me what happened to my child,” Randle’s mother said. “That’s all… just tell me what happened to my child.”
“Nobody’s perfect. You not perfect… ain’t nobody in this crowd perfect. But nobody deserves to get gunned down,” Randle’s brother, Kerrick Floyd, said.
Another brother of Randle, Bryon Jean-Louis,“ noted that whether Randle was guilty of crimes or not, he never got his day in court.
“My brother won’t see due process and that’s something I’m truly pissed off about,” he said. “I can’t cry… I’m beyond crying.”
“No matter what we say or what we do he’ll never be brought back so I’m just trying to control my emotions right now and stay at peace,” said Randle’s father Warren Randle.
The family is now demanding the release of the police body camera footage from the day of the shooting.
“They got 30 days to release it,” Quanell said. “We want on that 31st day to see that footage.”
HPD reportedly confirmed that the footage will be released within 30 days of the shooting. Meanwhile, the driver of the car Randle was in was taken into custody and the officer who shot him was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting.