Details of HPD probe into death kept mum Victim’s kin want answers; Hurtt and White can’t give them
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
Mayor Bill White declined Monday to release details concerning an investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed man by one of the city’s officers but assured Sunnyside residents that their concerns were being addressed.
“To give out some of the details prior to the conclusion would not be fair to all the parties,” said White, speaking to residents gathered at St. Paul’s Missionary Church for a town hall meeting. Along with a balanced investigation into Robert McIntosh’s death, White promised residents the city would be taking a closer look at the Houston Police Department’s policies on Taser use and deadly force. Such assurances weren’t enough, however, for Robert McIntosh’s family members who have been left with more questions than answers since his Jan. 8 death. McIntosh was fatally shot by HPD Officer L.D. Smith after a scuffle stemming from a traffic stop. Smith told investigators he shot McIntosh after the man turned the officer’s Taser on Smith. Two witnesses said Smith shot McIntosh while he was handcuffed. Smith is currently on administrative leave. McIntosh’s brother, Allen, demanded that White explain why Smith shot an unarmed man. “He didn’t have a stick. He didn’t have a knife. The bottom line is he never had a weapon,” he said. “You all are never going to do anything until it happens to your child.” “Nothing can account for the loss of your brother,” White said in response to Allen McIntosh Jr.’s statements. The Rev. Robert Jefferson, of St. Paul, urged patience in the community. But he, too, expressed frustration by the lack of concrete information. “Our community is torn apart over this, and you are just going round and round,” he said, addressing White and Police Chief Harold Hurtt, who also attended Monday’s meeting. “I don’t have answers now, and I’m not going to lie,” Hurtt said in response to detailed questions about how and when Smith shot McIntosh. Activist Sandra Massie-Hines said the police version of the incident conflicts with other information. For example, police have not proved that McIntosh’s girlfriend was with him at the time of the incident, as they have stated. Also, she said, a tail light in the vehicle Smith pulled over was not missing, as police have stated. In unrelated cases, White said that since he has been mayor, two HPD officers have been fired, and one convicted, following the shootings of unarmed civilians. firstname.lastname@example.org