Kimiye Factory is busy trying to blaze a trail to change the outcome of three fatal high-profile shootings involving SAPD.
SAN ANTONIO — The outcome justice advocates seek in three officer-involved shootings may not happen without new evidence. But that’s not stopping them from bending the District Attorney’s ear.
Between petitions, meetings and media appearances, Kimiye Factory is busy trying to blaze a trail to change the outcome of three fatal high-profile shootings involving the San Antonio Police Department.
“Anyone who watches that video came footage — you don’t have to be a legal expert to understand and that that there was foul play,” Kimiye Factory said.
Factory is the president of the Black Freedom Factory. According to their website, the Black Freedom Factory exists to build a more racially and socially just society by creating a culture of racial equity across San Antonio.
On deck for Factory is trying to get Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales to reopen the investigation into the shooting death of Charles ‘Chop’ Roundtree Jr.
Roundtree was killed by San Antonio Police Officer Steve Casanova in October 2018 at a documented drug house.
According to police, during an assault investigation at the 217 Roberts Street, Casanova believed former weapon suspect Davante Snowden had a gun. Investigators said he opened fire shooting Snowden and killing Roundtree. Police Chief William McManus said 18-year-old Roundtree was an unarmed bystander sitting in a chair.
Casanova was cleared of any wrongdoing by a Bexar County grand jury. Snowden was acquitted of allegations he had the gun Casanova claimed he saw.
Factory, Roundtree’s family, and Black justice supporters want the case back in front of a grand jury.
“He says he’s heard their cries but his actions say otherwise,” Factory said.
Advocates are wanting Gonzales to put fresh eyes on the fatal shooting of Marquise Jones in February 2014. As Jones ran away from a drive-thru accident, San Antonio Police Officer Robert Encina is said to have shot Jones. Encina was cleared by a grand jury of the shooting. He said Jones was armed. A federal jury sided with the officer relieving him of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Jones’ family.
The officer-involved death of Antronie Scott is the third case protesters want Gonzales to reconsider. Scott was shot during a traffic stop in Feb 2016. Undercover officers were reportedly following the 36-year-old for outstanding felony weapons and drug warrants. Officers said they mistook Scott’s cellphone for a gun.
“As I have previously stated, I have personally reviewed these officer-involved shootings several times over the last year and a half,” Gonzales said. “Our office is willing to present these cases to a new grand jury if information or evidence comes to light that we believe would cause a grand jury to return an indictment.”
St. Mary’s University of Law professor Geary Reamey says while the grand jury process is secret and relies on evidence put on by the DA’s office, the decision comes from the citizens who sit on it.
“The District Attorney, certainly, has an advantage in getting these cases indicted,” he said. “It’s not entirely up the District Attorney whether the case gets indicted or not.”
The law requires grand jury proceedings to be held out of the eye of the public. Transcripts and testimony are not made available to the public. No one knows what the DA’s office presents, but those who are present.
“We feel like that that he (Gonzales) is elected to this office, he should be able to do his job and understand that the law is made to be ratified and is made to be revisited,” Factory said.
The outcry for justice in cases where Blacks are killed in officer-involved incidents leaves families and advocates waiting for results they often don’t like.
Reamey said DA’s are being asked to reconsider cases during what he calls extraordinary times. But he said unless there’s new evidence, that consideration will only go so far.
Factory agreed to meet with Gonzales Thursday to discuss the cases.
Part of the discussion will focus on the signatures on a petition for the cases to be reopen.
If the conversation does not lead to results, Factory said an effort to un-elect Joe Gonzales is not out of the question.
“I think that if he was elected to do his job and he’s falling short of that, then somebody else can,” Factory said.