On the morning of July 2, around 60 demonstrators gathered outside Houston City Hall to march to Houston Police Department headquarters. They demanded the arrest and prosecution of Shane Privette, the white police officer who shot and killed a 29-year-old Black man named Jalen Randle in April. Since Randle’s killing over two months ago, the city’s mayor has so far remained silent, while the Houston Police Officers Union has outrageously pushed a statement blaming Randle for his own death.
Cop who killed Randle has history of violence
On April 27, Houston police claim they went searching for Randle for three outstanding arrest warrants. At around 2:45 p.m., they saw him get into the passenger’s seat of an SUV and began pursuing him. A chase began which was only ended when police forcibly stopped the SUV by blocking its path. Jalen Randle exited the vehicle and turned to run away. Immediately, Privette exited his vehicle and began chasing Randle. Privette yelled, “Let me see your hands,” but didn’t even finish the sentence before firing his gun, shooting Randle in the neck.
Randle fell to the ground. Privette can be heard on video saying “Oh shit!” in response to his own actions. As Randle was lying unconscious on the ground, bleeding from the neck, police officers handcuffed him and searched him. They dragged his limp body across the grass and pavement. Nearly an entire minute passed before any sort of medical aid was administered. He was then taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An independent autopsy contracted by the Randle family and released June 8 revealed that Jalen Randle was shot in the back of the neck. Privette was immediately placed on paid administrative leave.
This is not the first time Privette has been accused of heinous acts of violence. In 2019, he was charged with “aggravated assault by a public servant” for his actions in 2017, when he was accused of kneeling on top of a man and beating him in the face so badly that the victim was left with a busted eyeball and other injuries. A grand jury would go on to clear Privette of all charges.
Randle’s killing is being investigated by the HPD Special Investigations Unit, the Internal Affairs Division and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. It will then be reviewed by the Independent Oversight Board, the same oversight board that was found by a Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research study in 2020 to be one of the least effective oversight boards in the state of Texas.
Protesters demand prosecution of Shane Privette
Many of the demonstrators wore red and white memorial shirts with Jalen Randle’s picture on the front with the words, “Your wings were ready. Our hearts were not.” Speaking to the crowd and media, Jalen Randle’s father Warren Randle stated, “We need to keep this current because the police want you to go to sleep on this. They want to put this to bed and change the narrative.”
From City Hall, protesters marched through downtown until they reached HPD. Among the signs carried were ones reading “Justice for Jalen,” “Don’t let your loved one be next. Stop police brutality,” “Fire + prosecute Shane Privette,” as well as a quote from Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Once they reached their destination, protesters chanted directly in front of police officers who were standing in the street, “Say his name: Jalen Randle!” and “No justice, no peace!” Some demonstrators raised their hands in front of the police and chanted “Oh shit,” the same words uttered by Shane Privette immediately after his bullet struck Jalen Randle.
From the police station, the crowd marched back to City Hall. As they marched, drivers passing by honked their horns in solidarity. Upon reaching City Hall, the crowd was given information about different actions they could take in the coming weeks and months to keep up the pressure.
Jalen Randle’s family and friends are not giving up the fight and will persist. They have vowed to continue organizing protests and taking action each month until Shane Privette is held accountable and justice is achieved.