Alva Braziel’s widow, Black Lives Matter members demand changes in HPD policy

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HOUSTON —  A heated exchange took place Monday during the Houston City Council meeting between the mayor and members of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“You may not like the facts, but they are what they are,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

Members of the Black Lives Matter movement are taking on the mayor and City Council, and they aren’t being quiet about it.

They’re demanding changes following last month’s death of Alva Braziel at the hands of Houston police officers. His widow, Nikki Braziel, directed her statement directly toward Turner.

“He asked for help. He didn’t have no right to shoot nobody! He asked for help,” Braziel said.

“The best thing ya’ll can do is do what’s right. Stop killing us, put this policy in place where the people can check on the (police) cuz they’re out of control. Black power,” Krystal Muhammed of the New Black Panther Party said.

They’re demanding city council create an oversight board made up of civilians with subpoena and prosecutorial discretion to hold police officers accountable for their actions.  According to the mayor, the current independent police oversight board is made up of experts in the legal system. All 29 members are appointed by the mayor.

The case involving Alva Braziel is still under internal investigation. But we know he had a gun in his hands when officers found him July 9 in the middle of the road. Surveillance video from a nearby gas station captured the scene. The officers’ body cams captured the aftermath. But what he did — or did not do —with that gun is still causing questions, especially for his widow.

“I want to see the video that the mayor saw on the Sunday after the shooting pointing the gun at his officers,” Braziel said.

Jerry Ford Jr., another Black Lives Matter advocate adds, “Don’t tell us there’s no footage because you’ve already been on TV telling us there is footage. We’re not a bunch of fools.”

Maybe dash cam footage would provide some answers, but that hasn’t been released. Members of the movement hope Houston Police Department will make changes to the current body cam policy.

“Right now they can turn the cameras on and off whenever they like,” Ford said. “We think that defeats the entire purpose of the camera.”

“Body cams that the citizens pay for, that should be considered public info, too,” one  Black Lives Matter advocate told the mayor. “If the officers don’t do anything wrong, why not release it in 24 hours?”