Scene outside People’s Party II headquarters, 2828 Dowling St., before police shootout resulting in death of Carl Hampton, People’s Party II leader. Bill Thompson / Houston Post

_20160726_143228_20160726_1434221024x1024Houston Police Chief Herman Short responded: “The law will be enforced in the 2800 block of Dowling as it is everywhere else. There is no place in this city where a policeman can’t go.”

Flash forward to July 26.

Early that evening, officers came across two armed teens marching down the middle of the 2800 block of Dowling, near Tuam. Police told the Houston Chronicle one of them pointed his weapon at the officers before fleeing up Dowling toward the back of St. John Missionary Baptist Church.

Standing in the church doorway, the 19-year-old again pointed the pistol at the officers but did not fire, police said.

Officers refrained from shooting because two church women were immediately behind the armed youth.

Three men members of the congregation seized the youth and wrestled away his gun.
To protest the arrests and raise bail money for the two, People’s Party II members held a rally outside its headquarters. Soon after, more than 200 officers moved in, the Post reported. A few criminal intelligence officers took a position on top of St. John’s to watch the area for possible snipers. By about 10:30 that night, an armed Hampton left party headquarters with others to investigate claims that officers were on the roof.

Here, the story goes in two directions. A grand jury investigation concluded that the first shots came from the ground. Quoting from the grand jury report, the Post reported that “specific approval to return fire was requested and given after shots from the ground and before police officers fired.”

The panel found that Hampton’s shooting was defensive in nature and justified. By reaching that conclusion, the grand jury no-billed two HPD officers stationed atop the church’s roof in Hampton’s death.

In contrast, Freeman’s narrative claims officers fired the first shots after Hampton was identified by a reporter for KULF, who was also on the church’s roof. That version alleges the officers shot Hampton using night vision scopes using illegal hollow point dumdum bullets.


Under threat of gunfire, a woman drove up to the injured Hampton to transport him to the hospital. He was taken to Ben Taub Hospital where he later died. Four others associated with the group were injured.

Following the gun battle, more than 50 people were arrested on minor charges in a 10-block area surrounding Dowling and Tuam, the Chronicle reported. A search of the headquarters uncovered literature on Mao Tse-tung, urban warfare and how to shoot down helicopters. Also found were several weapons, gas masks and tear gas.

“The pigs assassinated Carl in an attempt to destroy the party, but their attempt failed because pig brutality and murder is one of the phenomena that brought the party to birth. The oppressive conditions that Black people and all poor people suffer from is the reason why the party managed to stay together and it is because of these conditions that it will continue to get stronger..” – James Aaron, Chairman of People’s Party II

Haki Kweli Shakur 7-26-51ADM