DA’s office to review custody death of Pasadena man FBI also monitors Pasadena police’s investigation into Gonzales case
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said it will review a Pasadena police investigation into the custody death of Pedro Gonzales.
“We will undoubtedly take some people into the grand jury and, if evidence warrants it, we will continue with criminal charges,” Assistant District Attorney Joe Owmby, police integrity unit chief, said Friday.
The unit is still awaiting release of the investigation report by the Pasadena Police Department Internal Affairs Division.
Gonzales, 51, was found dead in a jail cell July 21 about 7:30 a.m, five hours after officers Jason W. Buckaloo and Christopher S. Jones used force to arrest him on suspicion of public intoxication, police said.
“We will probably talk to some of the people they have already talked to and follow up on anything they did not do,” Owmby said.
Meanwhile, the FBI’s Houston office is monitoring Pasadena’s investigation, Owmby said.
Activists called for an FBI inquiry because Pasadena police officials told them conflicting stories and held back information that supervisors did not investigate a 911 caller’s report of police brutality.
“We believe officers Jason Buckaloo, Christopher Jones, the immediate supervisory management, jail system, and culture (of) the Pasadena Police Department participated in the death … ” the League of United Latin American Citizens’ Houston office wrote in a July 30 letter to the FBI.
The Millions More Movement Ministry of Justice organized a protest at Pasadena police headquarters Thursday and requested an FBI investigation.
Gonzales’ family said they began to worry on July 20 when police would not explain why he had not been released from the jail following the July 18 arrest. The next morning police told the family that he had died of a stroke or heart attack, his sister Elvia Garza said.
Police later said a punctured lung and broken rib found in preliminary autopsy results may have resulted when he tripped as officers escorted him to a patrol car about 2 a.m.
The family became more upset after learning that Police Chief Mike Massey and Capt. Bud Corbett, among other officials, told LULAC spokesman Rick Dovalina that Gonzales had been released from jail at 1 a.m., just one hour before Jones and Buckaloo rearrested him. The official autopsy with toxicology results has not been released.
LULAC called for an FBI investigation after the Houston Chronicle obtained a recording of a 911 call made at 2:09 a.m. by a woman who said police were beating a man at Strawberry and East Harris.
Dovalina said Massey and Corbett never mentioned an emergency call or that the caller, Evelyn D. Moreno, called police back after learning Gonzales died.