Houston

The parents of Jalen Randle held a press conference July 26 to demand action from Houston’s mayor, the police chief and the Harris County District Attorney regarding the murder of their son by a Houston cop, April 27, 2022.

The killer cop is Shane Privette, who is on paid leave from the Houston Police Department. Paid leave since April of 2022. Paid leave for shooting Jalen Randle in the back.

A video of his last moments alive was recorded on body camera footage released a day before the second anniversary of George Floyd’s murder in May 2020. Randle’s parents remain determined in their demand for an indictment and conviction.

Jalen Randle’s family at Houston press conference, July 26, 2023. (WW Photo: Gloria Rubac)

Randle’s father, Warren Randle, addressed the media outside of the Harris County Courthouse, saying: “There’s a dark side to Houston. The politicians and the people in power sweep everything under the rug. They sweep the deaths in the county jail under the rug. They sweep the murders of unarmed Black men under the rug.

“I’m a father of an unarmed Black man and I can’t sweep everything under the rug because I think of my son. I spent Sunday evening with my son, but I have to go to the graveyard to speak with him. I now keep a picnic table in my car because I never know what time of day I will need to go out there to sit and talk with him. This cop has been on paid leave since he murdered my son.”

Addressing the Houston police chief, Randle’s mother, Tiffany Rachal, passionately said: “I urge you to take action now and ensure that justice is served for Jalen Randle and our family. As a leader, you have the power to make a positive impact on our city and its citizens. Please uphold your duty to protect and serve the people of Houston without bias.”

Rachal, who was holding the hand of her young granddaughter, Jaylaa Randle, said: “Officer, you get to go home to your wife, to your family, and to your mother, to your father, but this little girl right here does not have a father anymore. She will not have her father at her Pre-K graduation.”

As Jalen Randle’s younger brother was introduced, the crowd was told to be patient as he had never before spoken publicly about his brother’s murder. Blake Rachal took the mic but couldn’t get a word out before he broke down in tears and walked away from the press conference, too moved to say one word.

Police murders: A national epidemic

Many community activists were introduced and addressed the media, including a union organizer, a representative of the Houston Tenants Union, an activist with Pure Justice, and others. Members of several families whose loved ones had also been murdered by Houston cops spoke as well.

A grand jury this past spring did not render a decision about this murder. The DA said the case would be presented again to another grand jury in the fall.

Police killings are not just a Houston issue. Every year over 1,000 people are killed by cops in the U.S. In 2022, the year Randle was killed, there were almost 100 cop killings every single month. The Washington Post has tracked 8,643 fatal police shootings since 2015. (tinyurl.com/ycyst65d)

Black people were 26% of those killed by police in 2022 despite being only 13% of the general population. Ninety-five percent of the police departments in major U.S. cities kill Black people at a higher rate than white people. This year, there have only been 11 days where the police did not kill anyone. (mappingpoliceviolence.us)

As the press conference ended, there was a call and response that rang out into the courthouse and through surrounding streets: “Say his name!” “Jalen Randle!”

The only true justice for Jalen Randle and the thousands of victims of killer cops will come when the police are abolished, and a society is created that meets the needs of all its people and treats every person with the dignity they are entitled to. Our class needs both bread and roses. The struggle continues.

Gloria Rubac

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Gloria Rubac

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