Family, friends seek marker for veteran killed by officers in ’77

Houston Chronicle

Thirty-seven years after rogue Houston police officers beat Jose “Joe” Campos Torres to death’s edge and pushed him off a dock to drown in Buffalo Bayou, his family members and friends want his death and the resulting outcry marked for posterity.
“We basically feel it’s time,” said Richard Molina, Torres’ nephew, who has been working to get official recognition for Torres and the events surrounding his death.

Torres, 23, who had served in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division as a communications specialist in Vietnam, was arrested outside Club 21, an East End bar, shortly before midnight on May 5, 1977. His beaten body was discovered days later in the bayou.

Two officers were convicted in state court of negligent homicide. In federal court, they and another officer received a year of incarceration along with a longer suspended sentence on separate charges.

Molina, along with several other family members and friends, is working to win approval of historical markers at Moody Park to commemorate Torres’ death and the community’s reaction. They said they expect to file applications in the coming months seeking markers from the Harris County Historical Commission and the Texas Historical Commission.

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The first of many events to be held tonight  for the purpose of fund raising and getting this recognized. This will all led to a Texas Commissioned Historical Marker to be placed at Moody Park and hopefully keep this awareness going for sometime after. The event will included music, poets, speakers and even a stand-up comedy set by Carlos Calbillo! They will also show Carlos Calbillo’s Film detailing the events from that time.

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