The family of James Scott Reed pleaded in front of a crowd of news cameras on Friday to have the Killeen Police Department to release the names of all of the officers involved in a February no-knock warrant that led to the man’s death.
They are also asking the public to fight with them in ending no-knock warrants in the city.
A press conference was held with several members of Reed’s family along with their attorney, Daryl Washington, and supporters in front of the department’s headquarters in south Killeen.
“They have been dealing with this since February and they haven’t been given any type of answer whatsoever,” Washington said. “His mother has been dealing with this and (Ju)Meka (Reed’s sister) has been fighting this.”
The conference is in the wake of the news of the indictment of former KPD officer Anthony Custance, who was charged this week with the third-degree felony offense of tampering with physical evidence in connection to the case.
“Everyone wants to know how we are grieving, this is our grief. We need to get out there, register to vote, participate to vote so that this doesn’t happen again and there will be another family. It’s going to keep on continuing,” Jumeka Reed said.
James Reed, 40, died on Feb. 27 in an officer-involved shooting during a no-knock warrant at 215 W. Hallmark Ave.
Reed’s fiance Eva Brocks, who participated in Friday’s conference, along with Washington said he didn’t have a gun in the home where the incident took place.
Washington also said he applauded the Texas Rangers, who are currently still investigating the case.
“In this case, like many other cases that we deal with, generally what happens is our victims are the ones being placed on trial and they are the ones that the focus is placed on; what we hear about and what we read about,” he said.
Larry Reed ended the conference urging names be released of all officers who were involved, and that they also be prosecuted for their involvement that led to his brother’s death.
“Last night, I was reading over the indictment of the officer and was asked: ‘Was my family excited and happy (about Custance arrest)?’ For a moment, yes we were. But as I sat down and started thinking about it ... I still have some unanswered questions,” he said.
Ofelia Miramontez, the KPD’s spokesperson, said police had no comment in response to Friday’s press conference.
In the courts
Custance fired his rifle at the back of Reed’s house during the raid, but did not injure anyone, police said on Thursday. He was indicted by a grand jury earlier this week on the tampering with evidence charge, after officials said tried to hide the fact that he fired the weapon.
The next step in his court process is a formal arraignment by the court, at which time defendants usually enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, court officials said.
“The Bell County grand jury returned an indictment this week charging Custance with the third-degree felony offense of tampering with physical evidence,” said Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza, on Friday. “The next court appearance will be his arraignment, which at this time has not been scheduled by the court.”
The district clerk’s office could not give the Herald a copy of the arrest affidavit for Custance, but did provide the indictment.
“The Custance case was presented directly to the grand jury at the conclusion of the investigation by the Texas Rangers, as such there is no arrest affidavit,” Garza said.
The state alleges that the former officer concealed one rifle magazine and presented another magazine to investigators instead, according to the indictment.
The indictment states that Custance, knowing an investigation was in progress into the officer-involved shooting, “intentionally and knowingly conceal(ed) a...rifle magazine with missing rounds, with the intent to impair its availability as evidence...”
He then is accused of presenting “a 30 capacity rifle magazine loaded with 28 rounds, with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation.”
The Herald requested from the Texas Department of Public Safety a copy of the Texas Ranger’s investigation, but was told the investigation was still open.
“The press release issued by the Killeen Police Department in reference to the officer involved shooting stated that our Texas Rangers have completed the investigation. This is incorrect,” said Sgt. David Roberts, DPS public information officer, on Friday. “The Rangers and the Bell County District Attorney’s Office presented the information that has been collected to-date to the grand jury and an indictment was handed down for the actions of KPD Officer Custance, (but) the investigation is still active as evidence is still being collected.”
Roberts said he could not release further information that “could jeopardize the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”
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