Protesters march, demand justice in man's death after Denny's confrontation

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - Protesters on Wednesday marched through downtown Houston, demanding justice for a man who died last month days after a confrontation with a Harris County deputy and her husband outside a Denny’s restaurant in Sheldon.

John Hernandez, 24, died about three days after he was injured during the May 28 confrontation with Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry. His death was ruled a homicide.

About a hundred people, including members of the Hernandez family, carried signs that read “#JusticeForJohnny” and chanted as they walked the nearly two miles from Guadalupe Plaza Park to the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.

The group held a news conference at the end of the march, where they demanded charges be filed against the Thompsons.

VIDEO: Protesters speak at end of march

“They simple seek justice,” said attorney Randall Kallinen, who represents the Hernandez family.

Kallinen again referenced video released Monday that appeared to show Terry Thompson using a chokehold and laying on top of Hernandez as Chauna Thompson held down one of Hernandez’s arm.

“He knew what he was doing,” Kallinen said. “The maneuver is called a ‘blood choke,’ and that’s where you cut off the blood to the brain, and that’s what he died from.”

An autopsy found that Hernandez died from anoxic encephalopathy because of strangulation with chest compression. Web MD describes anoxic encephalopathy as damage to the brain from a lack of oxygen.

Kallinen said he believes Chauna Thompson should also be charged.

“She was within a foot or two of John’s face,” Kallinen said. “She could see that it was going on. She did nothing. That’s called an accessory, and she needs to be indicted, as well.”

VIDEO: Attorney presents new video of confrontation
Please note this video may contain images and language that some people find unsuitable.

Harris County Frist Assistant District Attorney Tom Berg spoke to the crowd at the end of the rally, who demanded to know what Ogg plans to do about the case. He assured the crowd that the case will be presented to a grand jury this week.

“We had to wait for the evidence to come to us,” Berg said. “It came to us last night.”

Berg said Ogg is out of town but has been closely monitoring the situation. She released a written statement Tuesday, saying she wants to ensure the process is fair for both the victim and the accused.

He spoke more about the case during a separate news conference.

Both Berg and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez encouraged anyone who witnessed the confrontation between Hernandez and the Thompsons to call investigators.

Chauna Thompson’s attorney said Hernandez was the aggressor and that she and her husband were trying to stop the assault.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Chauna Thompson has been indefinitely reassigned to administrative duties.

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