HEDWIG VILLAGE, Texas - A 21-year-old died nine months ago in police custody, but how he died is still in dispute.
“We haven't accused anybody of killing him, but we know somebody did,” says Quanell X.
The mother of Darrall Thomas recruited the community activist to help figure this out. They're calling for a federal investigation.
"I've been through hell and back trying to figure out what happened to my child,” mother Lakita Carr said.
Thomas left behind a 1-year-old son.
The Harris County Medical Examiner's report claims her son died from a drug overdose after police chased him then rescued him from Hunter's Creek. But Carr’s not buying it.
The Hedwig Village Police said Thomas bolted after he and two others were spotted trying to steal a bank's ATM nearby.
“He wasn't hurt. Nobody tried to hurt him. There was no murder out there,” Chief David Gott said. “He was on drugs, he was committing a criminal act, he ran from the police, and he died."
With the help of Quanell X, Carr hired an outside forensic expert. Both reports list the same drugs in his system.
“Let's be clear. An independent toxicology report states that there was not enough substance in his system to cause the death of Darrall Thomas," Quanell X said.
The Harris County M-E’s report says he died from the acute effects of the drugs.
“When you're running from police it's going to build up your adrenaline, bump you up a little bit,” Gott said. “That, combined with the drugs in your body, he just couldn't take it.”
Quanell X said it was more sinister. He said the independent report ruled it a homicide. But in fact, the report he provided says nothing of the kind. The exact wording reads, "The cause and manner of death is undetermined.”
In response to the Quanell X claim of homicide, the doctor who performed the second autopsy in Arizona reiterated his conclusion that further forensic investigation is called for.
Houston police did the initial investigation and Chief Gott stands by it. But he'd welcome another.
Quanell X says, “We want to know what the hell really happened to this young man.”