HOUSTON-- An outcry of justice could be heard in the streets in front of the Harris County Courthouse Wednesday while friends, family and supporters called for action in the choking death of John Hernandez.
The Tejano Heritage Alliance held a news conference to discuss their objections with the Houston justice system.
"We are glad that District Attorney Kim Ogg finally recognizes that there is probable cause to have the murderer of John Hernandez to be brought to a grand jury for indictment, but we condemn the unprofessionalism of the handling of this case," a Tejano Heritage Alliance spokesperson said.
Hernandez, 24, died after a confrontation with a Harris County deputy's husband outside a Denny's restaurant. Newly-released cell phone video of the tragic incident shows Hernandez struggling on the ground while being held in a chokehold by the man.
Outrage has been growing over the strangling death of Hernandez now that the Harris County Medical Examiner has ruled the death a homicide.
"They took my nephew in an ugly way, they choked him to death! And it hurts. And I'm angry," Hernandez's aunt Wendy Maldonado said.
The Tejano Heritage Alliance is asking for the termination of Deputy Shawna Thompson, wife of Terry Thompson who is seen helping her husband restrain Hernandez in the video. The T.H.A. said it was Deputy Thompson's duty to protect Hernandez, but instead she participated with her husband in what they say is a clear-cut case of murder.
An attorney for the Thompson family issued a statement saying,
"We have not committed any crime. Mr. Hernandez was the initial aggressor, striking my client. He struck my client, and my client subdued him until the authorities arrived. Bold and outlandish statements have been made not based on the facts. We don’t have all the facts and until we do it's irresponsible to be making statements about my client. Social media is full of threats against [my client] and his family. They have been harassing attorney as well."
Attorneys for the Hernandez family and several witnesses say the video leaves no doubt as to what caused the young father’s death.
“This is what witnesses have been saying all along,” said Randall Kallinen, a civil rights lawyer. “The Harris County deputies actively tried to cover up the killing at the scene and let a killer go free because he was married to a deputy.”
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez responded to the cover up allegations by saying that despite how the internal investigation may look to the public, he’s confident in his office’s ability to be transparent, thorough and unbiased. He also assured the supporters that the deputy’s husband was not receiving preferential treatment because of his wife’s position.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg also responded to the cover up allegations and released a statement asking witnesses to come forward with any evidence that may be helpful to the case.
“We appreciate the concerns and justice will be served. We want a fair process for both the victim and the accused in the grand jury process,” Ogg said. “We appreciate the efforts of community activists and lawyers and we ask them to contact our office if they have evidence.”
Many supporters are still not convinced that justice will be served and have taken to social media to demand that more be done by Ogg and Gonzalez.
Check out protest pics below: