Marquise Jones Hearing – January 19, 2021, 10 am Eastern

Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Marquise Jones

SPEAKERS

  • Rapporteur Horace Campbell
  • Commissioner Prof. Rashida Manjoo
  • Commissioner Mr. Bert Samuels
  • Ms. Deborah Jones-Bush, aunt of Marquise Jones
  • Daryl Washington, attorney for the Jones family

Horace Campbell  00:00

Hello, everyone. Today is Tuesday, January 19. Welcome to the hearings of the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Violence against People of African descent in the United States of America. These hearings are a process by which witnesses can present accounts of unjustified killings and maimings of black individuals by police officers in the United States before an international panel of human rights experts.

We now begin the hearing in the case of Marquise Jones. My name is Horace Campbell, and I am the rapporteur for this hearing. Presiding over this hearing is Commissioner Rashida Manjoo of South Africa, and Commissioner Bert Samuels of Jamaica. The witnesses for this hearing are Miss Deborah Jones-Bush and attorney Daryl Washington.

There will be 50 minutes for the hearing. Witnesses will testify followed by a period of questions from commissioners. I will call time on the 30 minute mark and the 45 minute mark.  Please excuse my interruptions. Commissioners Rashida Manjoo and Bert Samuels, I now  present to you the first witness, Ms. Deborah Jones-Bush. Ms. Deborah Jones-Bush, please confirm your name.

Deborah Jones-Bush  01:57

Deborah Ann Jones-Bush.

Horace Campbell  02:00

Do you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief? Yes, you may begin.

Deborah Jones-Bush  02:13

Good morning. I am the aunt of Marquise Jones, who on February 29 2014, was killed by San Antonio police officer Robert Encina. Marquise, he was born December 13 1990 to Cheryl Jones and Blake Lamkin in San Antonio, Texas. He was the eldest of two and the brother of Whitney Nicole Jones. Marquise had an immense love for sports but his favorite was basketball.

He participated in organized basketball in high school, and San Antonio city’s league PYL. He also was involved in the local underground hip hop community. What I’ve heard from people in the hip hop world of San Antonio, he was very good. Marquise’s focus on life shifted when his daughter Caitlin was born.

He knew he had to change this life path for her and decided to look into how he could serve his country by joining the US military. Fatherhood changed him and to see Marquise with his daughter was very heartwarming. Marcus was the life of our family. He made everyone laugh by dancing, rapping and being an over all clown of the family. He looked after his mother who he called his Black Queen and his father who he called Cox, and his sister who he called Baby Girl.

On the night that Marquise was killed, he was involved in a fender bender while he was a passenger in that vehicle. And the restaurant decided to call out to security, while security was Robin Encina, who was working undercover working as a security guard at the time. And he came out and started roughing up the driver of the vehicle. My nephew at that time was on probation and he had reported that morning, and his sister was trying to tell him you’re okay, you’re okay, you could just report it this morning. But Marquise was very nervous about the situation that was going on and decided to go home which is only two blocks away from his home. And the officer never told him to stop, never told him he could not leave. Marquise then proceeded down the driveway of the restaurant drive thru and was shot at nine times, with one bullet hitting him and striking him in the back and he died.

Marquise’s untimely passing impacted our family and our community more than I expected. His parents lost his son. His siblings lost a brother and my son lost his best friend. They were 145 days apart and did everything together. His daughter Caitlin will never know her father. She was only six months old when he was murdered. Caitlin’s mother was left to raise their daughter on her own. The family as a whole lost a favorite nephew, cousin, and sibling. Life has never been the same. Birthdays and holidays are the most difficult. The impact of his death had on the community was absolutely devastating. After his death, I met so many individuals that had nothing but good to say on Marquise. They all talked about his big smile he always wore when he interacted with anyone.

Marquise was one of many that have become part of this epidemic that is impacting every city in this country. Police are killing Black men and women at an alarming rate. And no one seems to care. They’re given a slap on the wrist and paid vacations. While families are trying to figure out how to bury loved ones. Something needs to be done. Our children are afraid of the police. Black men and women are afraid of law enforcement to pull them over out of fear that they might not make it home. How a cop feels that they should not be a reason that we won’t make it home. Our community in our country wants to see legislative action that will make our community feel our law enforcement wants to protect and not to persecute. Thank you.

Horace Campbell  06:49

Thank you very much. Commissioners, I now present to you, the second witness Daryl Washington.

Daryl Washington, please confirm your name.

Daryl Washington  07:15

Good morning, commissioners. My name is Daryl Washington.

Horace Campbell  07:20

Will you promise that your testimony to the Commission of Inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?

Daryl Washington  07:28

I do.

Horace Campbell  07:30

You may begin.

Daryl Washington  07:32

First of all, on behalf of the Jones family, Marquise’s mother Cheryl and his father, I would like to thank you all for giving us this opportunity to make a presentation to you all about a very serious issue that is not only impacting the state of Texas, but this entire country. So again, we really thank you all for for having this opportunity.

As Deborah has already told you all, the story and death of Marquise Jones was a very serious, but tragic death., that was totally preventable. And we say that most of the time, these deaths, 100% of these deaths are totally preventable.

When I look at what took place at the Capitol, and the fact that multiple individuals were able to stay in the Capitol, and we did not see the use of deadly force on those individuals tells us that police officers know how to use de-escalation of force.

Tragically, that de-escalation of force is not used when the victims are Black. Marquise Jones case, the officer who was involved in this case had a long track record. He had a long history. This was not a stellar police officer, someone who had got an officer of the year. This was an officer who prior to Marquise Jones’ death had been involved in another number of incidents where he actually assaulted individuals. But despite going through those types of incidents, this individual was able to remain a police officer. And here’s what we’ve seen with these cases. Most officers who take the lives of innocent Black men, if you will look into the background of those officers, we generally find out that these guys have problems. And these problems are being ignored by the various police departments.

Now, when we talk about the things that we think we would like to address with the commission, there are a number of things that generally happen with these cases that make it very difficult. But I would just like to start start off with the onset of these cases. Generally what we need to do is somehow we need to have media be more responsible when they’re reporting these cases. Because when these cases are reported to the public, the families, the attorneys who handle these cases are typically placed at a disadvantage. And what do I mean by that? Whenever a young man is killed by a police officer, the first thing that we get is the background of the victim, the deceased individual who no longer could defend his or her name.

And it makes it tough because now the public has now made their mind up before all the facts have become available. And as you can imagine, in most cases, it’s hard to overcome this. And in a lot of cases, it makes it sometimes impossible for families to get legal representation, which is a major problem. For every George Floyd case, for every Breonna Taylor case that is being reported by the media, there are hundreds of cases that the public never hear about because either there’s not a video or the media has blamed the cases on the incident, on the victim.

Number two, we have a huge legal hurdle with these cases. I’ll give you an example with the Marquise Jones case. One of the most tragic situations with this case, was there was an eyewitness who saw the entire incident, Marquise was sitting in the car with his sister, sister’s best friend and another guy that he had just recently met. Marquise got out of the car and Marquise ran in an opposite direction from this police officer. Despite this, despite the fact that this officer was not in danger, no third party was in danger. This police officer fired at Marquise, striking him in the back. There was an eyewitness who observed and witnessed the entire incident, who told the police officers on the scene that Marquise was not trying to harm anyone and he saw the officer shoot Marquise in the back.

Ironically, the officer sent that young man home, and he was not allowed to give a statement as to what he witnessed. And as you can imagine, it made it — it made it very difficult because what happened was they just took the the story that the police officer was given as to what happened and no other witnesses. It makes it tough with these cases, because as we know, police officers protect police officers. And the question becomes, how do we get over this hurdle? And, and the state of Texas. People love police officers. This is a pro police officer state, and you hear it all the time, back to blue.

So some of the hurdles we deal with is when we take these cases, we now have to figure out how do we get these cases to trial? One of the first hurdles we deal with is this term everybody has been hearing, qualified immunity. How do you get over qualified immunity? How difficult of an obstacle is this? And what can the public do to assist us with getting over qualified immunity?

And for those of you who may not know what qualified immunity is, basically what qualified immunity is, the court basically rules on whether the officer’s use of force was reasonable. The court makes that ruling very early on. So in essence, if the court determines that the officer’s use of force was reasonable, then we don’t even get to move to second base with these cases. So as you can imagine, if there are no eyewitnesses to the shooting, it becomes very difficult to get over that hurdle because most courts are going to lean towards the police officer. Fortunately, in most of the cases, we have been able to get over the qualified immunity hurdle, but it makes it very difficult to get over that hurdle. The second obstacle that we deal with with these cases is how do we get over the jury favoritism? Police officers are viewed as heroes in the state of Texas, and in most places. So as you can imagine, it becomes extremely difficult to get a jury to convict individuals who they consider to be their heroes.

I think one of the things that the Commission can assist us with is how do we assure in these cases that we have a very diverse jury, because if we don’t have a diverse jury pool, then it makes it almost impossible to get a fair trial. I mean, because people’s minds are made up before we even get this case back to the jury room for them to to deliberate. A third issue that I think would be very helpful is, I think somehow, it should be required that police officers maintain insurance. Because in these cases, it becomes very difficult for us to hold the city’s liable. You have to jump through so many, do so many loops in order for the court to hold the cities liable. So generally what we are going to try with are police officers. And as you guys can imagine, most of these police officers don’t have insurance. And they don’t have the ability to satisfy any type of judgment that we ever get a judgment. So I think that’s one of the things that we should really push. And how do we get officers properly insured so that families have some type of mechanism, some type of protection when a police officer takes their their loved one?

And finally, I think one of the most important things that we need to do is, how do we change the laws? I think the laws that are currently in place make it very difficult. For these cases, we can protest as much as we want. But as long as these laws remain the same, we’re not going to have any change. The example that I like to give, if an employee causes harm, if somebody is working for Coca-Cola, and they cause a harm to a third party, while that person is in the course and scope of his duty, then Coca-Cola has liability. But if a police officer kills an unarmed black man, during the course, in scope of his duties, there is no liability on the cities. And I just think that is totally ludicrous. And until there is total liability and responsibilities on these cities, there is no way that we’re going to be able to prevent these police officers from creating the harm that they currently are doing. So I’m gonna stop at that and answer any questions that you guys may have.

Horace Campbell  17:27

Thank you very much.

Rashida Manjoo  17:37

Thank you to both Ms. Jones-Bush and also Mr. Daryl Washington for your testimony. And I’m really sorry for the loss of Marquise Jones. I wanted to ask Ms. Jones-Bush, who is the aunt of Marquise Jones, you said that the restaurant, the restaurant called the security, and are we talking about a different person from the police officer? Or was the security and the police officer one and the same person? I didn’t get that.

Deborah Jones-Bush  18:20

Okay, no problem. The cashier at the drive thru window called security, who is — was the same person. Robert Encina, he was working security. And at the time when, as San Antonio states, once he becomes — once there’s an incident, he becomes an officer again. So it’s one and the same person.

Rashida Manjoo  18:44

Okay. And just a follow up in the document that we received. This officer has a history at the same place of many other incidents of brutality, and, and there’s been no accountability. So there was knowledge by this employer, this drive in restaurant, about his violent tendencies and particularly towards minorities.

Deborah Jones-Bush  19:15

Yes, ma’am. That is true.

Rashida Manjoo  19:19

Thank you.

Deborah Jones-Bush  19:20

You’re welcome.

Bert Samuels  19:21

Let me ask Mrs. Jones-Bush. May I ask whether there was video footage obtained from the restaurant depicting the shooting?

Deborah Jones-Bush  19:41

Can I give that to Daryl? He’s the one that is our lawyer. So he saw all of that.

Bert Samuels  19:49

Attorney Washington, could you help me on that, but was there video footage of the incident or prior to the incident available to you?

Daryl Washington  20:02

That’s one of the things that we attempted to get during this case. A week before trial, we were able to get, mysteriously, we were able to get some video footage. It was not the video footage that that showed any of the incident. It was basically video footage that was showing what was going on inside of the restaurant, but none outside. And we found that, Mr. Samuels, to be very strange, because this restaurant was in what is considered to be a high crime area. There are lots of incidents that have taken place at this restaurant. And you would think that you would have video footage of the drive-thru where people are interacting with your employees, perhaps where somebody can, you know, rob someone, and and for them to make us believe that there was no video footage.

It was totally impossible. And if I may, Mr. Samuels. I want to further elaborate. I know that was a question that was asked about this particular officer and his prior incidents that he was having at this restaurant. That was an issue that we — that was an issue that we tried to take up with the court. And here are the problems that we have with these cases. The court allowed them to go into the background of Marquise, they allow them to go and talk about things that had no relevance when it came to the use of deadly force. Because we know all that matters, when there’s the use of deadly force, is what happened at the time that this officer made the decision to pull the trigger. They didn’t go through that. They talked about the fact that Marquise was previously on probation. They talked about — they allow them to basically poison the jury.

Now, when we attempted to bring up the past experiences of this police officer, the judges concluded, that the judge told us that that was not relevant. So here’s what we’re dealing with when you have these cases. Most people, their first connection to trials, basically, is watching it on television, they are waiting to hear all the good and the bad. So if a judge makes a ruling that excludes any bad information about this police officer, what most jurors are thinking is that if they didn’t bring up any bad about this police officer, these officers are generally in a trial with the halo over their heads.

Bert Samuels  22:39

Right. And then my first question to you is connected to this question. What efforts are being made to have a body other than the police, as it were, sanitize the crime scenes and investigate, so that the investigation is not by police, against the police? What efforts for any independent body that have been made? I know it’s very difficult, but what efforts if any?

Daryl Washington  23:07

And that’s a great question. One of the things that we’ve been doing is we’ve been pushing the district attorney’s office to have their own unit to go out and investigate these cases. And I know here in Dallas County, Dallas District Attorney’s Office actually go out anytime there’s an officer involved shooting, they go out to the scene. The thing that we don’t like about that is the individuals who they hire, to be in this department to investigate these scenes are former police officers. So again, you still have police officers, investigating police officers.

I’ll tell you another thing that we deal with in every case, in the state of Texas, whenever there is an officer involved shooting, it matters, no matter what time it is, an attorney for the officer is immediately called out to the scene and is able to talk to the officer. So it places us at a real disadvantage because they are now coming together with their stories. And in most cases in Texas, officers do not have to give a statement until 72 hours after the crime. So you can imagine how difficult it is to get a real statement from a police officer as to what took place. But again, we are trying to push where there are independent agencies who are out on the scene immediately so that these police officers aren’t coming together with these stories to make this difficult.

Rashida Manjoo  24:41

Mr. Washington the issue about the internal affairs review that was done. And the note that I have is that the conclusion results are unknown. Is that normal? Are these sort of documents not bound by access to information legislation? Why is it that the conclusions are unknown to the family, to the attorney of the family, etc.?

Daryl Washington  25:09

Again, that’s that’s one issue that we fight with these cases, it is so difficult to get personnel information about these police officers. In this case, here, they did not make any information available to the family as to what took place with this internal affairs investigation. But the fact that Robert Encina is still a police officer, we all know what the conclusion was that they reached. But the fact of the matter is, I think we need to have more civil review boards that are made up of individuals who are part of the community, and not just police officers investigating police officers, who can actually investigate this and figure out exactly what happened because, again, we know it happened, these police chiefs support these officers, not because they 100% agree with what the police officer did.

But because of the impact that it has on their own career. They know that if they find officers who are taking the life of an unarmed individual, then it makes it bad on these police officers, but on these Chiefs of Police, but let me tell you, one of our biggest hurdles, and I think they just need to totally get rid of them. And that’s police unions. These police unions have so much power. And they make it so very difficult for any chief of police to do his or her job. Because as soon as the chief of police comes out and issues a statement that they think the shooting by the police officer was not reasonable or it was unjustified, then these police unions issue a vote of no confidence and basically  make it very difficult for a police chief to go forward. The same thing with district attorneys.

The biggest supporters for district attorneys are these police unions. And as you can imagine, the number one witness for a DA’s office in a criminal trial are police officers. So these are individuals that they are working with on a daily basis. Now you have to take that same DA’s office, who are relying on these police officers to help them do their jobs. And now you asking these individuals to come in and prosecute a bad police officer. And it’s just not happening in most cases. And again, I think there needs to be some type of independent agency who makes a recommendation to the district attorney’s office, whether these cases go forward or not. Because again, the relationship between the DA and the police union and the relationship between the chief of police, and the police unions are too powerful. And again, when you uncover those, we are going to start getting a lot of traction with these cases.

Rashida Manjoo  28:08

So as a follow up on an independent review process mechanism, you know, the US is a federal system. And state by state approaches in terms of legislation setting up independent mechanisms might become a challenge, because these mechanisms can become politicized either through the provisions in legislation setting these up, and each state is going to argue that it has, you know, a different complex system that needs to be accommodated. So how does, one thing, in the US, in a federal system have an independent complaints mechanism that has some form of standardization and both legitimacy to investigate such cases?

Horace Campbell  29:01

Excuse me. We just passed the 30 minute mark. Please continue.

Daryl Washington  29:06

Thanks. Should I respond?

Horace Campbell  29:10

Yes, please.

Daryl Washington  29:11

Okay, again, and let me just try to answer this question to the best of my ability. Somehow. We are making a plea to the commission to look at these cases stronger. And to figure out what can we do to launch an independent investigation of officer involved shootings. I can guarantee you — I’ve been doing this for for 21 years. The one thing I will guarantee you, if you were to look at these officer involved shootings, and if you were to see how they are actually investigated by these departments, you guys would be totally shocked. You would be surprised that police officers in these cases only give one statement and that statement that they give, they are assisted by their attorney, their attorneys are allowed to write the statements for them. There are no questions that are asked of these officers.

For example, if there was a regular citizen who took someone’s life, that person is going to go through a full interrogation. And they’re going to do a walk through, they’re going to try to figure out exactly what happened, they’re going to look at the evidence and try to match this to the officer’s statement. And the things that we’re seeing with these cases, it’s just not working. The body cams, the body cams not working the way it was intended to. Because one of the most difficult things we have, if you allow an officer to review the body cam, before giving his or her statement, then you’re never going to find any type of inconsistency, you wouldn’t let a regular individual who took someone’s life, review all the evidence before he has to give a statement, you would never get a conviction. So there’s just so much favoritism that’s gone on with this, these officer involved shootings, if you guys really look at the investigation, and what’s going on, you’re gonna uncover a lot of wrongdoing. And again, once you start getting these officers criminally prosecuted, once these cities are held liable for these acts, I think only then we’re going to be able to save the lives of unarmed Black men and women.

Bert Samuels  31:24

May I just ask you, with the incestuous relationship between police and police unions and the district attorneys and the jurors which are selected and jury selection, what you think will be the reaction to an international commission seeking as an outsider to cause the United Nations, other nations, to call for this crisis for racial minorities who are being victimized by a country? What would be the reception in Texas, for example, if we tried to, as being other nations, tried to come in? Because there’s a boast about the loftiness of American democracy? What do you think would be the reception?

Daryl Washington  32:10

I think they would not want it to happen. And the reason why — most of these cities do not want that attention. So the fact that you guys will come in asking questions and demand accountability and transparency, I think it would have an impact that is so powerful, I’ve seen it with with a number of cases where individuals from other countries have come in and have voiced their concerns. And when that happened, we start to see movement. But the thing, the biggest problem that we have with these cases, attention are given to these cases, only until somebody else is killed. And when somebody else is killed, we just move on to another case. But I think with the power, the collective power that you all have as an organization, as countries, if you came in and demanded change, because again, a lot of the people who are here in the United States are from the UK, from other countries.

So you have, you have an interest in making sure that they are protected, because you are lending your talent, some of your best to our country, and they ought to not have to come to this country and be in fear of law enforcement officers.

Bert Samuels  33:22

And let me this last question, which is a follow up to that, based on what’s going to happen tomorrow, you’re going to get your new president. And we expect that representatives to United Nations will follow through with his promise that he will not turn his back on Black people whose votes caused him to be where he is. Are you optimistic about the United Nations representation by the United States not fettering, the process of us looking into the United States and its problems?

Daryl Washington  33:52

 I’m totally optimistic about it. Again, I hope the one thing that I hope that doesn’t happen is that people don’t get comfortable because we have our first Black lady who’s gonna be serving as Vice President, and we get content about this. I think this is now the time to push our agenda to make sure that there are changes. If we can’t get it in these four years. It’s not gonna happen.

Rashida Manjoo  34:22

Mr. Washington, can I ask you, in your over 20 years of experience in these cases, does a civilian review board process lead to some level of accountability or satisfaction? Or is it that people don’t trust these civilian review boards either?

Daryl Washington  34:48

I think the civilian review boards can work. They need to be given just a little more power. They need subpoena power, that’s one of the things that they have to really fight so I think if you give them just a little more power, it can really work. We have one here in Dallas that just recently got assembled. And they have been making some noise. The one thing that really helps with the civil review boards is that their summaries, their investigation actually goes into the files of these police officers. So if we are able to get this information in police officers’ files, and now we demand that these files, files of bad police officers are made public, then that — I mean, it gives a civil review board that much more power, because now police officers are going to have to respect the decision of these civil review boards. But I just think they — it can work, but they need just a little more power.

Rashida Manjoo  35:52

I, you know, coming from South Africa, the issue of representation and democratic demographic representation is important. We don’t have a jury system. But you know, this is a fight we have all the time in terms of political representation, judicial representation, etc. So the demographics, so in states where you have minority populations, how does one ensure in the civilian, the civil review boards, that you have the demographics, the representation, including, I suppose, in your jury system? And you know, you’ve mentioned the challenges of the juries, and the kind of prejudice that already exists because of the composition? How do you have any ideas of how, what efforts should be made to have more representativity?

Daryl Washington  36:47

We I think, definitely you need to have a diverse civil review board. It cannot be a board that’s made up of mi-  I mean, majority, white people, for example, or majority of Black. It needs to be a diverse group. Here in Dallas, that has been accomplished somewhat, because the civil, I’m sorry, the City Council is somewhat diverse. And what happens is the city council gets to appoint the individuals to serve on these civil review boards. So that truly helps out to make sure that you have a diverse board. But what happens when you’re in a city that there are no, there are no minorities, and you just happen to have a Black person who’s traveling through that city and is killed by a police officer, then we all know what the results are going to be in that review by that civil report, I’m sorry, civil review board. Now, let me touch on the question that you made about having a fair jury pool. One of the toughest things with these cases is they are generally in federal court, because we bring in these cases pursuant to Section 1983.

We think that these cases should be kept in state court. And we think that these cases should be decided by the citizens of the jurisdiction where the incident took place. But let’s take Texas, for example. It was always a known thing when it came to the presidential election, any statewide election, you we’re not going to get a minority into office, because you have a lot of these counties that have never seen a Black person. So when it comes to these cases, in federal court, generally in the Northern District of Texas, or in the Western District of Texas, for example, where Marquise was located, you are not just selecting jurors from San Antonio, from the city of San Antonio, if you were, we would have more of a diverse jury pool. But you are selecting jurors from all these counties surrounding Bexar County.

So the majority of these counties do not have Black people living in them. The majority of these counties are pro police. So imagine you’re now, I’m now going through a jury pool. These people, the majority of them aren’t from San Antonio, so they really are not concerned about what happens in the city of San Antonio. So now here’s what I’m dealing with. Their only concern is how do I protect a police officer? That’s their only concern. So that’s what we have to do —  it matters not how it matters, not the evidence that we have, in these cases. It’s just jurors. Then we have to, somehow when we do have a diverse jury pool, we have to educate African Americans on the importance of serving on juries. Because one of the biggest hurdles that I have in every one of my cases, we spend years preparing for these cases to protect these families.

And I happen to see a jury pool come in, and there are 7, 8, 9 African Americans in that jury pool. And I just start praying. Because I’m like, you know, maybe, just maybe I can have  a diverse jury pool. But here’s what we go through with these judges, a lot of the federal judges, they get to ask questions. And a lot of these judges know how to exclude minorities from the jury. I mean, so if the attorneys aren’t excluding them, the judges are. The judges always ask this one famous question. And I always every time there are African Americans in the jury pool, I know this, I know this question is going to come out. And that question is, is there any reason why someone cannot serve on this jury, please raise your hand. 99.9%, the people who are raising their hand are African Americans. And why? Because sadly, you have to – it’s, you have individuals sometimes who may have jobs that don’t allow them to take off. So they know that by asking that question, you’re going to eliminate a lot of people. So there needs to be some push. When these cases are going to trial? How do we make sure that there is proper compensations for jurors? So that that is not a problem that if we can do that, that will eliminate that question, because now jurors know that I can serve for two weeks, if that’s how long it takes to try a case, and I’m going to be compensated for it.

And when that starts to happen, then and only then will you start to see more diverse jury pools. So again, that is something that I think the commission should look at, look at what’s the percentage of blacks who are serving on jury pools when there are officer involved shootings, and you would be shocked in most cases, we are trying these cases with no one who looks like the victim.

Bert Samuels  42:06

Let us ask attorney Washington, there must be some optimism that your vice president as of tomorrow is a former prosecutor and a black woman. But going forward, what is your confidence that the system will be overhauled based on your vice president’s career as a former prosecutor? Do you think that she will be able to influence the whole process, that being a former prosecutor?

Daryl Washington  42:40

I think she will have some influence on it. We saw how active she was with the Breonna Taylor cases and George Floyd and the fact that, you know, she has something to say about these incidents, unlike our current president, I think is very important when you have somebody who has the courage to speak out on these issues. I’ll be honest with you, I would have liked to have seen probably a more aggressive Attorney General, appointed by the President, I think that would have given me some, even more confidence to know that this is going to be an issue that’s going to be looked at, because here’s what we don’t want to happen. We don’t want these cases to be used to get people elected. And, you know, these are the terms that we use to get the African American community excited. And now, after the inauguration, that is forgotten. We want to make sure that, you know, qualified immunity, that was talked about during many of these debates, we want to know what’s the follow up. We want to know what’s going to be done about these, these police shootings. And we’re not going to wait two years or three years from now, to hold them accountable. This is something that we’re going to be looking at very early on. And I think we need your collective efforts to make sure that all the promises that were made are kept.

Bert Samuels  44:05

Yeah, finally, just apart from the Botham Jean case, yeah, there was a conviction of the police. Before that conviction last year of the year, how many convictions of police for murder, first or second degree, you have or know about in Texas?

Horace Campbell  44:23

Excuse me. We have reached the 45 minute mark, so bear that in mind.

Daryl Washington  44:30

Okay, sure. And that’s gonna that was going to be one of the issues. I will be speaking on during the next panel. I have been involved in, in the state of Texas we’ve had two police officers who have been convicted of murder. I’ve represented the families in both of those cases. I was just reading the article about three or four months ago where in the last five years or so there’s only been four or five convictions in the United States, not Texas, in the United States, for all these officer involved shootings that we’ve heard of, and I’ve been a part of two where officers have been convicted, have also been part of two where officers have been indicted. So those are things we definitely going to be able to elaborate on and talk about in the next session where I can tell you why I feel like these officers were indicted and why I feel like these officers were convicted. But we you know, and if I can bring this to the Marquise Jones case, I can tell you why the officer was not indicted in the Marquise Jones case. And it’s very clear, because the district attorney did not want to indict the police officer.

We all know that district attorneys can indict a ham sandwich if they want to. And when district attorneys make the decision, that they’re not going to indict a police officer, it’s not going to happen. So we have to figure out how do we make these DAs more accountable, not just accountable to the public. But if we know that this information is not being properly presented to grand juries, that’s the problem. I think the system that we have, the grand jury system that we have in this country is broken. There is no way that jurors and DAs should be part of a decision whether to indict a police officer, and this error, and the evidence that was presented to these jurors are not made available to the public. We saw how it did not work in the Breonna Taylor case, we saw that, you know, in that case, jurors came forward and said that the proper evidence was not submitted to them. Can you imagine how often this takes place? I think we would be shocked if we were able to get the transcripts of these grand jury proceedings to find out how these DAs are making these presentations. So the one thing that we need to make sure is the transcripts from these grand jury proceedings where there are officer involved shootings are not destroyed, that needs to be kept for a period, whether it’s seven years or 10 years, but those transcripts need to be available. And you know, there has been some cases when we have tried to get the transcripts. And they say that there was no record made of the grand jury proceeding. I couldn’t believe that but but again, that system is broken and needs to be changed.

Rashida Manjoo  47:40

Thank you. May I ask Ms. Jones-Bush, how Whitney Jones is doing because she witnessed the shooting and death of her brother and she was held in a police car, did assert that she was struggling to breathe, you know with the trauma, was not allowed to call her mother. And, you know, there’s so many levels of wrongdoing even on that issue. How is she doing now and are these issues canvassed in these sort of cases?

Deborah Jones-Bush  48:24

For her and her mother, it is a day-to-day thing. They have their good days, they have their bad days, they have more bad than they do good. There are times that I’ve had to go to their home, it was three in the morning, because they’re just not functioning. My sister can’t wrap her head around that her son was taken, in all the holes and everything in the case. And the city still did not realize the wrongdoing, we just fought to reopen up the case and they denied us again, because of they said, the supposed gun that did not have any fingerprints on it, did not have any DNA or anything on it. And that is the reasoning of why they didn’t reopen it. Whitney she’s had two kids, but we, we tried to get help for her. But the victim advocates’ groups were like no because it was a police shooting. And we were, we had to pay for Whitney to see someone and to speak with someone but, but it just being her and her brother. She struggles because now she’s here by herself without her brother.

Daryl Washington  49:48

Thank you. Can I add something to to what Miss Debbie just said?

Rashida Manjoo  49:54

Yes.

Daryl Washington  49:56

I would like to totally commend this family because, again, I’ve been doing this for 21 years. And the thing that is just so commendable about this family is that their fight is not just for Marquise. This family had a significant amount of money that was thrown their way. And they could have easily taken this money and walked away and been done with the case. But they say if we do that, then we don’t have an opportunity to expose this system. Because we all know these cities would love to come in and offer a settlement to the family where there’s no discovery. And there is no — we cannot find wrongdoing. In this particular case, the thing that I think’s been most gratifying to this family is the work that they have put in it. The wrongdoings that we uncovered with this case, I can assure you that some of the things that they’re doing in San Antonio, it’s totally different because of this family, and because of that fight. And I think that’s the thing that is so very important. That was a mother that was speaking yesterday. And it was so powerful, what she was saying. We can’t look at these cases for settlements. We can’t look at these cases for the quick attention. We have to be the Thurgood Marshalls to come in and how do we change laws. And this is the thing that I really commend this family for. They are trying to change laws, years after Marquise’s death, they’re still fighting, they fight with other families. And this is why it’s so important. And this is why we make the plea to the commission.

Daryl Washington  51:37

When Marquise was killed, his daughter was killed, his mother was killed, his father was killed, our entire community was killed. And it goes on forever. And it has an impact on these families that is so significant, people will never understand the impact that it has, every time. There’s an officer involved shooting, this family and the families around the country now feels that pain because they now have to relive the death of their loved one. And so the fact that we fight these cases, and I tell people all the time, even if we get to deliberation and the verdict that might not be favorable, we still won. because not many of these cases get to go to trial.

And when these cases,, when these cases get to go to trial, we make the lives of these police officers very uncomfortable. We make the lives of these city officials very uncomfortable. And when one police officer have to observe and witness when a fellow officer has gone through, due to these depositions, due to these direct examinations, due to the public pressure. I know it might not stop every single police officer but I know and I can truly say with confidence, because of the fight that this family is putting in, it’s making a difference in saving the lives of individuals. And then this is what we want the commission to help us with. We want you all to help us make changes so that we don’t have to, to continue to assist grieving mothers and fathers with these cases because in over 90% of them, nothing is ever done.

Horace Campbell  53:22

Thank you so much. Thank you very much. This concludes the hearings in the case of Marcus Jones. We now have a very short break and then we will start with case of Botham Jean.

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