Interview with Martha Bradley, mother-in-law of Walter Houston, who was shot to death during a street brawl.
The bias shown by cops and sometimes whole police departments in the country has certainly become an eyesore. Let’s take for instance this dispute involving two families over a traffic incident. In September last year, a dispute over how a young lady was driving led to two old neighboring families breaking down into a brawl. In the heat of the situation, Walter Houston, the son-in-law of Martha Bradley got shot. Regardless of the fact that a slow response led to Walter Houston lying in the street for almost an hour and subsequently, his death, the detectives in charge of the incident botched the investigation.
No one was arrested for the murder of 33-year-old Walter Houston. No proper investigation was made into the incident, although several shots were fired and the lives of several people were at risk. The head of the investigation just arrested one man and accused him of the attempted murder of ten people. The man has subsequently spent almost one year in jail over this outrageous charge, while the murderer is still walking the streets a free man. Our attention was drawn to this epic case of injustice and bias when Martha Bradley, whose son-in-law was killed, contacted us and laid the facts bare. We hope that some justice will be served for her family in such a difficult moment.
Martha, we’d like to express our deepest condolences to you and your family on the tragic death your son-in-law, Walter Houston. We’ve read the story of the tragic incident involving your son-in-law on many different news outlets and they all give a conflicting account. Please give us a brief summary of the incident.
In September of last year, my son-in-law was shot and murdered. The mum of the guy that shot him is an informer for the police department and she’s friends with the detective that did all the investigations. But he didn’t arrest the guy that shot my son-in-law. What he did was, he told them the same night of the shooting, that it was justified homicide. They arrested my son, saying that he shot at the people in the crowd after the boy had shot at him, and they charged him with the attempted murder of ten people. He’s been in jail almost a year. They dropped the charges down from ten people to one person and named the guy that shot my son-in-law as the person that my son wanted to shoot. When I went to the coroner’s office to get an autopsy, he told me he couldn’t give me an autopsy because it was a homicide and that the DA had to give permission. When I went to the DA’s office to get permission to get the autopsy for my dead son-in-law, I found out that the murder was never reported to the DA’s office. That’s why the guy was never charged, although my son-in-law had gotten killed in a homicide and they knew who his shooter was. They didn’t even report that to the DA’s office! But in the little report that they made, which was about four or five paragraphs long, they named the shooter, but they put it as something else on the report. They charged the dead man, my son and my two grandkids as suspects, but they didn’t charge the shooter with anything.
Please tell us what led up to the shooting.
What happened is that, on the day of the incident, my granddaughters were driving down Iroquois Street, and a little boy was in the street playing basketball, but he was taking his time to move out when she was slowing down. So she murmured to herself, “That’s how children get hit by cars for playing in the road.” He must have read her lips. His grandmother [who was at the scene] said, “If you hit him, I’m going to call the police.” So the grandson, who was sixteen years old, threw a bottle at my daughter’s car. This family lives on the next street from us and we’d never had a problem with them. So my granddaughter made it a point to ask them why they threw the bottle at her car. That’s when the uncle, the aunt and the 16-year-old boy drove my grandkids out of the car and began fighting them. My granddaughter was able to kick them out of the way to get back in her car. While she was about to drive home, the young boy told her to go tell her mama that a grown man had whipped her tail. So when she came around to her two sisters who were at a birthday party, she reported that some grown man and his family had jumped on them. Then her mum, my other daughter and the two grandkids got in one car and I got in my car, and we went round there to see who it was. When my granddaughter got out of the car to point to us who had done it, the young boy came across the street where we were standing and jumped on her and they began fighting. When she was getting the best of him, his aunt came out of the yard and jumped on my granddaughter with her nephew, so my other granddaughter who is about twenty years old, got out of the car to help her sister. Then the young boy’s uncle, who had fought with them earlier, came out of the yard and he jumped on them too. So I’m sitting in the car and I can’t believe what’s going on, because we had never had a problem with these people. By that time, my son-in-law, had driven up to see where the ladies were, because he had been told that the ladies had gone round the street because they had a disturbance with a kid. When he pulled up and saw all the people and the kids outside the wall and fighting, he ran towards the big guy who was the shooter, and punched him from the back, and the guy turned around and shot him at close range in the chest. When he fell, I fell on top of him, and the guy pointed the gun at me while I was on the ground. And then he walked off and went across the street. By that time, my son was pulling up, and seeing me and his brother-in-law on the ground, he jumped out of his car and started running towards us. The guy that shot my son-in-law wanted to shoot at my son. I had left my car unlocked, and because I carried a gun in my car, my son-in-law went in my car and got my gun. I don’t know if he shot at him or not because I was on the ground at the time. But when I did look up to see my son with the gun pointing up towards the crowd, it had gotten jammed. So I got up and went and jerked the gun out of his hand, put it in my car and unjammed it. He stood for a while in the parking lot and then walked off to his car and left. Then the other family came back from across the street, and went to fight my granddaughter again. The young boy’s uncle, who is the brother of the shooter, hit my granddaughter in the head with a beer bottle. It must have taken the police like 45 minutes to even get there, while the man lay on the ground dead.
And what happened to the guy who killed your son-in-law?
Nothing. Nothing has happened. My son has been sitting in jail a whole year. December 15th will make it a year that he’s been sitting in jail.
Which other witnesses can corroborate your version of events?
All the witnesses that gave statements were from their side. My daughters, granddaughter, maid and two other grandkids gave statements too, but the detective that was handling the case didn’t even listen to what we were saying. He just let the guy go. That night, they took my car to the pound, they took my daughter’s car that had a bullet hole in it, to the police station. When they finished talking to her, they didn’t do any ballistics on the bullet hole, they just gave her her car back. The people whose son shot my son-in-law have been harassing my family ever since that happened. They lied and put me in jail. I got out of jail and proved it at the time that I wasn’t what they said, but nothing was done about that. It was just my name messed up. They went down there and filed another report to try and have me put in jail. I told the District Attorney all that and he told me, due to the fact that they did not file charges, there’s nothing that they can do because they didn’t even know anything was going on.
Was there any investigation done into the murder?
No, nothing was done into the murder. He was just dead and under the rug.
What do you think is the reason?
Because of the fact that the detective that did the case is affiliated with the victim’s family.
We hope that this family, together with the many other families suffering from police bias, will obtain the justice they deserve.