HPD urged to release body cam video from 6 deadly officer-involved shooting while families are divided

HOUSTON – A woman questioned Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo on why he has not released video from officers’ body cameras. The profanity-laced plea Tuesday marked one of many from Houstonians who say the department is not being transparent about investigations. Houston has had six deadly officer-involved shooting since late-April.

The claim places Acevedo at the heart of a dichotomy: his own calls for justice in the shooting death of George Floyd versus the calls to release body cam videos from the six HPD cases.

Acevedo previously said some videos have not been released because relatives of the deceased asked that they be kept private. While other relatives called for the HPD to release the videos to the public.

Despite those cries, HPD has not released any of the videos.

Nicholas Chavez: April 21

Jessica Chavez has questions. Key among them: why was her husband, Nicholas Chavez, 27, shot and killed last month by Houston Police Officers?

“He was crying for help. I know he was. I know my husband,” she said.

“Why did they have to go so far about it? He was on his knees. Why couldn’t they tackle him?”

Police said they believed the 27-year-old had a “pointed object” and charged at officers with it on April 21.

A cellphone video recorded by a witness appeared to show Chavez being shot while on his knees.

The Houston Police Department has not released video from officers’ body cameras from the night of the shooting.

Chavez’s widow thinks that should remain the case, as far as the public is concerned.

“I don’t believe it should be released on social media, any of the news stations - anything,” she said.

Jessica said the video is too graphic for children. Adding her four-year-old daughter saw the cellphone video on the news.

“She said that’s my daddy and ever since then I’ve been having to deal with her waking up in the middle of the night crying,” she said.

Jessica has not seen the video and said HPD has not contacted her recently.

“I have not seen (any) videos of the body cameras or anything like that. There’s a possibility that I’m going to have to wait until they do their investigation, which I pray to God gets here soon,” she said.

Jessica said she wants justice.

“He did not deserve to die like that. He did not deserve to be shot down like he was trash,” she said.

She said she believes the officers involved in the shooting should face criminal charges.

“100 percent. Should be charged,” she said.

Rayshard Scales: May 14

Nikia Emmitt was on the phone with her boyfriend, Rayshard Scales, when she said she heard an officer command for him to get to the ground. Minutes later Scales was dead.

Houston Police Department said they responded to 911 calls of a man carrying a gun along Scott Street. When officers arrived, they found Scales at a bus stop. Officials said they found Scales with what turned out to be a replica 9mm BB gun on him when an officer fired.

The day after the shooting, Acevedo presented a photograph of what he alleged was the gun. Still, witnesses on the scene have disputed allegations Scales had a gun.

Emmitt, who rallied outside Houston Police Headquarters less than one week after the shooting, told KPRC 2 Wednesday she had not been contacted by HPD to view the video. She wants it released to the public.

“I’m not going to stop fighting until I get justice,” Emmitt said.

About the Author:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.