Houston-area activists are calling for the federal government to take over the investigation of a former district clerk accused of excluding people of color from being selected on juries.
Activist Quanell X, along with the Brazoria County NAACP and The Rainbow Push Coalition stood outside the FBI’s Houston location earlier. The group is asking the federal agency to take over the investigation into allegations resigned Brazoria County district clerk Rhonda Barchak engaged in jury tampering for more than a decade. She’s accused of stacking the deck to exclude minority jurors.
“She was deliberately blocking Black people who lived in Shadow Creek in Pearland, who lived in Silver Lake in Pearland.”
Lee Taing said he was not given a jury of his peers several years ago when he was charged with organized criminal activity. With his case now behind him, Taing wants to help fight on the behalf of those in jail whose cases might be linked to Brazoria County’s jury tampering allegations, stemming 10 years, involving Barchak.
Quanell X said an impartial agency like the FBI is needed because the Texas Rangers are too close to the investigation.
“The Texas Rangers, their hands are not totally clean in this,” said Quanell X. “In fact, they were involved in some of these investigations where the loved ones were convicted as a result of jury tampering in our opinion, how can the Texas Rangers be innocent.”
Texas rangers have been investigating the allegations since October and say that investigation is still ongoing. That’s contrary to the October 31st deadline the Brazoria County district attorney Tom Selleck told KPRC several weeks ago. On Friday, Selleck said he’s hoping by the end of November. The DA said the investigation was delayed a few weeks due to “additional evidentiary matters.”
In a statement from Barchak’s attorney, Chip Lewis, he said “Rhonda did not know the race/ ethnicity of any of the parties involved in the cases.”
Quanell X and Eugene Howard with the Brazoria County NAACP said they’ll file a lawsuit if they don’t get justice.
“We ain’t running no sprint. We gonna take as long as it takes to get justice,” Howard said.
Howard said he’s in contact with the US Department of Justice.
A spokesperson for the NAACP Houston division told KPRC2 that a formal complaint must be filed in order for the agency to get involved. The spokesperson said one had not yet been filed.