BEAUMONT, Texas — The Southeast Texas community and members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People gathered at a Friday afternoon press conference in Beaumont to condemn police brutality allegations against the Beaumont Police Department.
NAACP Beaumont and the Texas Coalition Of Black Democrats held the event Friday in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse in response to Beaumont police officers allegedly paralyzing 40-year-old Christopher Shaw.
The civil rights organization is requesting to see the tapes regarding the attack.
Shaw was taken into police custody after he was arrested for public intoxication on June 12, 2021. The civil rights group said the incident that left him paralyzed happened as police were transferring him to the Jefferson County Jail.
"We need justice," said Reverend Michael Cooper, president of NAACP Beaumont chapter. "We need an answer. We are the voice of the people. We represent the people of Beaumont, Texas, and we want to make sure that voice is heard."
NAACP's Beaumont branch is requesting to see the tape so that the public can know what happened. They're pressing for answers and believe that seeing the tape is the right of the public. The group said in part that Beaumont Police should have "total transparency with its citizens and taxpayers."
“We are asking for all of the tape and all of the information to be released to the public, the family, and the lawyers so that we can see what is going on in our community,” Cooper said.
The lack of transparency is affecting the communications relationship with police, according to Candice Matthews, statewide accountability chair for the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats.
“It actually damages the relationship between the community and the police,” Matthews said. “We want to make sure we bridge the gap.”
Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens has called into the Texas Rangers to do an in-depth investigation.
“Any time there is a critical incident in the jail, we forward it to our state jail commission and the Texas Rangers,” Stephens said, “It is always good to have an independent third set of eyes."
The civil rights organization is asking for community support to demand that the tape and or video be released.
“We will not standby idly, and allow corruption to happen and take place in our city on our watch right now,” Cooper said.
12News reached out to the Beaumont Police Department and received no comment on the situation.