Our firm attended a press conference today at the Harris County Criminal Justice center along with the family of Blake A. Pate, a 24-year-old man who was fatally shot by a Houston Police Department officer on Christmas Day in 2011.
Pate's family, represented by Kennedy Hodges LLP, demands an investigation after a grand jury decision this past Monday returned a no true bill of the officer who shot Pate (Sergeant Curtis Hampton) meaning the officer will not be indicted.
Pate was "a victim of the Houston Police Department," said attorney David Hodges.
Pate's family referred to him as a peaceful, gentle person. And they all agree that the system in place needs to change.
On December 25, 2011, Pate was involved in an auto accident around 11:00 p.m. near the 9300 block of Tidwell by the Lakecrest Village apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex say they heard noises and went outside to see Pate and Sergeant Hampton at the scene and Sergeant Hampton shoot and kill the unarmed Pate.
Several witnesses claim there was no struggle and no reason for the police officer involved to shoot Pate and that the officer overreacted. In addition, Pate did not brandish nor was he in possession of any weapons. A spokesman for the Houston Police Department claims the sergeant felt "threatened" and drew his weapon and shot at least five or six times.
Sergeant Hampton no stranger to controversy
The officer involved has a history of complaints against him; in 2007 and 2008 two different officers filed complaints against Hampton, both for sexual misconduct. After the 2008 incident, HPD's Administrative Disciplinary Committee recommended an indefinite suspension of Hampton. But he received a 15-day suspension. The Pates want justice, in the hopes that this kind of tragic event does not happen to other families.