425 Texans Arrested for Shopping at Kmart
Raid on Kmart lot leaves shock, anger...
Teenagers, parents question arrests of 425 outside store!
By RON NISSIMOV
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
A crowd of angry teenagers and their parents accused police Sunday of arresting many innocent bystanders during an overnight raid on a west Houston parking lot where youths apparently congregate.
Scores of Houston police officers swarmed onto the Kmart parking lot in the 8400 block of Westheimer about 12:30 a.m. Sunday and arrested about 425 people for criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.
Houston Police Department spokesman Martin DeLeon said many cars were towed.
DeLeon said business owners have been complaining about youths gathering on their parking lots on weekend nights and causing a commotion.
DeLeon said he did not have more details about the incident because the two captains in charge of the raid, M.A. Aguirre and J.P. Mokwa, were sleeping Sunday after working all night.
The Kmart store is open 24 hours a day, and many of the people at the HPD station at 61 Reisner said Sunday that they had simply been shopping or eating at a Sonic drive-in restaurant that adjoins the discount store's parking lot when they were arrested.
Kmart and Sonic supervisors referred all questions to their corporate headquarters, which were not open Sunday.
"We went to use the restroom at Kmart and to buy a Scrunchi (hair band), and when we came back to our car, cops were coming in (the parking lot) and they tied our hands," said Brandi Ratliff, 18, who said she was a straight-A student at Waller High School and never had any problems with the law.
Ratliff said that even though she and two friends told police they had just come out of the Kmart, all three were arrested and spent the night in jail.
"It was traumatic," said a tearful Ratliff on Sunday morning after her parents drove from Stafford to pay her $300 bail at the downtown city jail. "It was sick where they were holding us. A prostitute was fighting with another woman. The food they served was food you would serve to a dog, not a human."
Ratliff and her two friends, Kris Karsteter, 21, and Kyesa Scott, 18, all had pink marks on their wrists from where they said police had tied plastic handcuffs too tightly.
Scott said she didn't have the money to pay bail and so she pleaded guilty to avoid spending another night in jail.
Note from webmaster of Jesus-is-Savior.com...
Wake up everybody! Why are the churches silent? I keep hearing Christians saying foolish things like "Satan must run his course," others just calling me a "nut" or an "embarrassment" to Christianity. What is it going to take to wake people up, a militarized police state where preachers will be imprisoned for propagating hate speech, for preaching the Bible against homosexuality and sin? What will it take? Are you just going to hand over your firearms to the government, a violation of your 2nd Amendment Bill of Rights? Already, Anti-hate speech legislation has been passed in Canada and is now before congress here in America. Folks, freedom isn't free. And by the way, Democracy is NOT Freedom. You need to believe some of the things you hear.
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