The family of a young man shot in his driveway by a Bellaire Police sergeant is seeking criminal charges against that cop.
The victim’s father, a former Major League baseball player, says his family’s convinced this was a clear case of racial profiling.
Bobbie Tolan has no words to describe his feelings after watching helplessly as his 23-year-old son was shot outside his front door, by a Bellaire cop, for no apparent reason.
“Just picture if this happened to your son or daughter,” says Tolan, adding, “The Bellaire Police Department know what they did.”
Anthony Cooper is Robbie Tolan’s cousin. The two were just returning from picking up hamburgers, around 2 a.m. Wednesday.
As they pulled into the Tolan family driveway, Cooper says, a man with a gun and flashlight suddenly sped up behind them and sprang out of his car.
“And he was saying ‘Stop! Stop! And we’re like, ‘Why? Who are you?’” he says, adding, “We didn’t know he was a police officer.”
Bellaire Police say Sergeant Jeff Cotton mistakenly thought the young men were in a stolen car. They haven’t explained why he believed that.
And they have not explained what happened next, as Robbie Tolan’s parents came out of their house. The family’s attorney, David Berg, says the officer brutalized then proceeded to brutalize the parents.
“When Mrs. Tolan tried to explain, ‘this is our house, that’s my car,’” Berg says Sgt. Cotton shoved her up against the wall.
And as Robbie raised up from the ground and tried to defend his mother, says Berg, the officer shot him on the ground.
Now, for Robbie Tolan, a minor league baseball player with dreams of pursuing a career like that of his father, the future is uncertain. He remains in intensive care at Ben Taub Hospital, in stable condition, with a bullet still lodged in his torso.
Bellaire Police are not discussing the case, and many questions remain. The family says, they’re determined to get answers and, they say, justice, as well. They plan to seek criminal charges against Sgt. Cotton.
“We’re hopeful the D.A. will file,” says the other family attorney, Geoff Berg. “And soon.