HOUSTON — Houston activists are demanding justice and change within the sheriff's office weeks after an unarmed man was shot and killed by a Harris County deputy in the Greenspoint area. The death of Danny Ray Thomas has fanned the flames of national debate regarding police brutality.
"The rally will call out the need for policy changes to help put an end to police brutality while calling for justice for Mr. Thomas and other lives lost at the hands of law enforcement," said Terrance Koontz with the Texas Organizing Project.
Thomas, 34, died from a single gunshot wound.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office released dash cam footage March 26 of the shooting, which took place a busy intersection near the 17000 block of Imperial Valley Drive. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez also announced an investigation has been launched to answer further questions related to the deadly shooting.
"We're going to try to get through this as quickly as possible," Gonzalez said. "I think the public deserves that. Obviously, Mr. Thomas' family deserves that, and the Harris County Sheriff's Office family also deserves that."
Thomas was reportedly battling psychological issues after his wife, Sheborah Latrice Thomas, was charged in the 2016 drowning of the couple's 7-year-old son, Araylon, and 5-year-old daughter, Kayiana.
"We want to continue to study and look at the use of force, not only in lethal but non-lethal-- with the use of tasers, for example," Gonzalez said.
The officer was not wearing his recently issued body camera, which was in his vehicle charging.
"Just two hours before, the deputy had been issued his body-worn camera. So, he did not have it on his person, and it was being charged in his vehicle," Gonzalez said.
The sheriff said the entire confrontation with the deputy happened in only 30 seconds.
In just half a minute, a life was lost and so many others were changed forever.