A Profile On Racial Profiling: Robbie Tolan Is Shot With His Parents In Their Pajamas On Their Own Property
Eric Holder made a statement recently that has got the right wingers up in arms.
"Though the nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder said.
"Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we average Americans simply do not talk enough with each other about race."
We heard after the election by the losers that racism is gone in America because a black man had been elected president. Tell that to the Tolan family. HBO ran this segment with Bryant Gumbel and it's on tonight.
Shortly before 2:00am on December 31 2008, Robbie Tolan, a twenty-three-year-old baseball prospect, was shot by police in front of his home in Bellaire, Texas. The shooting occurred after police mistook Robbie Tolan's vehicle for a stolen car. Robbie's parents, Bobby and Marian Tolan witnessed the shooting as they stood in their driveway wearing their pajamas. Robbie Tolan survived the shooting, and was recently released from the hospital. But he has a bullet lodged in his liver and his baseball future has been cast in serious doubt. Since the shooting, HBO Real Sports, has been investigating how such a tragic event came to pass.
In 2005, black drivers in Bellaire were almost 12 times more likely to be pulled over and asked for a consent search than whites. Compared with the rest of Houston, black drivers were four times more likely than whites to be searched, according to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, a non-profit organization that collects and compiles data on race and traffic stops.
Bellaire has a population of almost 16,000 and is less than one percent black. However, in 2007, 22 percent of the of the motorists given traffic tickets in Bellaire were black and 39 percent of the motorists who were stopped and searched were black, according to data collected by the Bellaire Police Department.
"And I said, 'this is my house my car, my son, my nephew. It's not stolen,'" said Bobby Tolan.
The Tolans then say that Sgt. Cotton pushed Mrs. Tolan against the garage door. At that point, Robbie reared up off the ground and said: "Get your fucking hands off my mom!" Sgt. Cotton then turned and fired his gun hitting Robbie Tolan in the chest.
"The guy never said a word," said Marian Tolan. "He never said, 'shut up,' he never said 'get down' or 'stay down.' He never said a word, he picked his gun, he took his gun and he just shot him."
The entire incident unfolded quickly. Two minutes past from when Robbie and Anthony exited their vehicle to when Robbie was shot, according to the Bellaire Police incident report.
After you watch this you will want to cry. The mayor of Bellaire looks like a fool. Jose Cruz, jr, a former baseball player had some profiling done to him several years ago in Bellaire also.
The Puerto Rican national said he was in his brand-new Mercedes with his pregnant wife and two kids when Bellaire police pulled him over. At the time, he said he had no idea what he had done wrong.
"They came out of nowhere," said Cruz. “The officer proceeded to arrest me. He told me that there were warrants out for my arrest. I told him that I didn’t have so much as a ticket, much less a warrant."
he Bellaire High School grad ended up spending the night in jail. But it was a mistake. Cruz said it turned out that those warrants weren't for him.
Paul Doyle is the ballplayer's attorney, and he said there is real problem in the area. He believes Cruz may have been a victim of racial profiling.
“It wasn't until we got involved that the police came up with the pretext that they pulled him over because he didn’t have a front license plate. That was the excuse they used,” said Doyle. “They're not going to say that they saw a Puerto Rican guy driving a nice car and stopped him.”
Doyle said that Cruz never wanted to come forward at the time, but the shooting of Robbie Tolan brought back too many bad memories.