FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Former Harris County D.A. Carol Vance Cancels Book Signing at Popular Book Store;
Activists Had Planned to Protest Regarding Lies, Omissions and Misinformation in his recently published Book, Boom Town D.A.
Civil rights veterans who lived and struggled through the 1960’s and 1970’s, along with members of Houston’s progressive community won a victory when just one day before Carol Vance was to do a book reading and signing at Murder by the Book on Bissonett, he abruptly canceled, citing “extenuating circumstances.”
“He obviously felt that he did not want to face those of us who knew Lee Otis Johnson or those who were at TSU during the police riot in 1967 or those that were comrades with Carl Hampton,” said Ester King.
King worked in Mississippi during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement and has been a leading figure in Houston’s African American community for over 40 years.
Also planning to attend the book signing was African American attorney Bobby Caldwell, who worked the other side of the court room and defended Johnson and others that Vance wrongly prosecuted.
“We have a statement from Anthony Pierce, wrongfully sent to death row in 1978, despite no forensic evidence and only faulty eye-witness identification,” said death penalty abolitionist Tim O’Brien. We wanted to read his statement and let people know that Anthony is innocent and still needs our support 33 years later. If the cops’ own test shows he didn’t fire a gun, then he did not kill anyone.”
Momentum built for the protest, as hundreds of leaflets, e-mails, Face Book messages and phone calls were made. Young people who had heard about Jose Campos Torres were planning to walk the picket line with those who remembered the day his body was found in the bayou and the cops who were never prosecuted by Carol Vance.
“We hope Vance will reschedule, but doubt that will happen. In the meantime, problems with racism and injustice in the criminal justice system in Harris County continue, Texas has two executions scheduled and we still have our work cut out for us,” said Gloria Rubac, an organizer with the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement.