A protest by family members of a police shooting victim in Texas City, Texas, erupted into a confrontation as a counter-protest from police supporters attempted to drown out the protest. The protest was organized by the family of Carlton Smith who was shot and killed after he allegedly pointed a firearm at a Texas City police officer. The protest was also attended by Houston racial activist Quannel X.
The confrontation occurred as the anti-police protesters were met by a group of pro-police demonstrators according to a report on KTRK-TV 13 in Houston. As Quannel X and Smith’s mother attempted to speak motorcycles were revved up loudly to drown them out. It was a scene reminiscent of when Quannel X attempted to speak in front of Joe Horn’s home in Pasadena in December, 2007. Joe Horn was no-billed by a Houston grand jury after shooting two black Columbian nationals who were burglarizing his neighbor’s home.
In two separate incidents during the protest rally there were physical confrontations between the groups.
Smith was killed by a Texas City police officer after he allegedly turned towards a police officer and pointed a handgun at the officer. The shooting occurred outside the HT Lounge at about 1:20 a.m. on December 26th according to an earlier report on KTRK. Police were responding to a report of a fight in the lounge that had spilled out into the parking lot.
Police stated that when they arrived on the scene, they observed Smith shooting a gun in the direction of people who were leaving the lounge. According to Texas City Police Chief Robert Burby, who is also a black man, Smith made a fatal decision that morning. “The decision was to turn towards the officer and point his handgun at the officer,” he said. “The officer then fired his weapon, striking the deceased.”
While some witnesses gave a differing account of the shooting, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office has stated there is no evidence to support the other allegations. The police officer gave Smith a verbal warning before firing his weapon according to the Texas City Police.
This officer involved in the shooting has not yet been identified by authorities. The officer is on modified duty pending the outcome of the investigation. The investigation will be conducted by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office.
Smith’s family is calling for the Justice Department to conduct a separate investigation and for a third party autopsy to be performed.
This request drew some angry responses on The Police News website. One reader wrote, “This is not a Dept. of Justice Issue, and We the Citizens Voted for Jack Roady to be our District Attorney. NOT A Special Prosecutor!!! I hope the Galveston County Officials Don’t bail down to these issues… It would only make the entire issue worse for the future.”
Another reader wrote, “I really wonder if the African American Community really feels that these instigators are doing them any good. Who elected Quanell X as their representative? But they did elect the District Attorney and Sheriff and they are investigating. This is America and all people, no matter their race, are treated equal. Your race should not dictate how a crime is investigated. That is discrimination.”
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.