On Thursday, March 20, 2014, a press conference was held by the family of Alfred Wright and Houston community leaders, demanding justice outside the office of the Texas Department of Public Safety located at 12230 West Rd. in Houston, Texas.
Alfred Wright, 28, was a popular physical therapist, who went missing on November 7, 2013, and was found 18 days later, not by the proper authorities, but by his father and supporting friends who were not pleased with the character of the formal search. The case has drawn worldwide attention and intense scrutiny by the way the entire investigation was handled by the Sabine County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Rangers.
Alfred was found by a search party that was formed by the Wright family, after Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox called off a formal search for Alfred after only four days and had claimed they had already searched the area where Alfred’s body was eventually found. Alfred was found severely mutilated, having had his eyes gouged out; tongue cut out; ear cut off; throat cut; and many more horrific things that indicate he was severely tortured.
According to his father, Rev. Douglas Wright, Alfred had been found with his eyes gouged out, his tongue cut out, an ear cut off and his throat cut and also indicated that they found a dime near his body. A dime near a murdered corpse is considered an unofficial marking of Ku Klux Klan, according to many people in the Jasper area.
Local authorities quickly concluded after performing an autopsy that Wright died from a drug overdose saying that his body was loaded with cocaine, meth and amphetamines. That autopsy disregarded the trauma and mutilation as nothing more than a consequence of animal and insect activity. Just as the Wright family was not satisfied with the character of the search for Alfred once he was declared missing, they were equally dissatisfied with the local autopsy report. They had an independent autopsy report done and that report declared that Wright was a homicide victim, having suffered severe blunt trauma to the head and neck.
"This was definitely murder, definitely foul play," said a very determined Rev. Wright, believing that local officials are involved in a cover up of some kind.
Gathered in front of the Texas Department of Public Safety Office, Alfred Wright’s mother spoke through a megaphone and continued to demand justice for her murdered son.
"I want to know what kind of drugs make you want to cut your tongue out of your mouth, make you want to slit your throat, make you want to gouge your eyes out, pull your fingernails off. You tell me, I want to know," said Rosalind Wright, the mother of Alfred Wright. "I don’t care if I have to fight until I take my last breath, we have to get justice."
The family and community activists are accusing the local law enforcement investigators who worked the case in Sabine County of doing an extremely poor job of police work and believe there tremendous misconduct took place in reporting what really happened to Alfred.
New Black Panther Party National Chairman Krystal Muhammad believes the manner in which the Sabine County Sheriff Department and Texas Ranger Danny Young have handled the investigation into Alfred’s murder appears to clearly be a cover up and criminal.
"We know that there’s been a cover up in the way that this whole case has been handled," said Krystal. "The Justice Department needs to do something now, so that this family can get justice."
U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee met with the family and submitted a letter to the Justice Department, which is why they now have the case. Many community leaders aren’t stopping there, as they are calling on the Justice Department and have reached out to legislators and the Texas Legislative Black Caucus to investigate how state and local authorities have handled the case.
"Alfred Wright was not killed by drugs, he was killed by real thugs," said community activist Deric Muhammad. "We’re calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the Texas Rangers and every investigative agency that fumbled the investigation of Alfred Wright and his death."
In response to the press conference, Texas Department of Public Safety Press Secretary Tom Vinger released a statement saying:
"This remains an ongoing investigation, and therefore we don’t have any additional information to provide at this time. We ask for the public’s patience and request that they withhold passing judgment on this case until the investigation is complete and all the facts have been established. The Wright family and the community can be assured that the Texas Rangers are committed to upholding the integrity of this investigation, and the resources of multiple law enforcement agencies, including FBI expertise as needed, are being utilized to determine the facts surrounding this case in a deliberate and methodical manner. The relationship between the sheriff and the local Ranger are not a focus of our investigation."
Sheriff Tom Maddox delivered a rare response and released a statement from his Sabine County Sheriff’s Department saying:
"Although we do not agree with the wildly false allegations being made, we cannot dispute them at this time due to this being an open investigation. I strongly urge everyone to keep an open mind, and refrain from commenting, or pre-forming opinions based on rumors and speculations surrounding the disappearance of Mr. Wright."
On Monday, April 7, 2014, the family of Alfred Wright, the New Black Panther Party and a host of other supporting forces plan to hold another rally and host a ‘Demonstration for Justice for Alfred Wright’ at the Office of Texas Ranger Danny Young located at 2188 US Hwy 190 in Jasper, Texas.
A community organizing meeting for justice was also held last Thursday evening at the National Black United Front (NBUF) office in Third Ward, where the families of Alfred Wright, Trayvon Martin, Kendrick Johnson, Oscar Grant, Emmett Till and Marlon Brown came together in solidarity via conference call to unite their efforts in their collective calls for justice.
Per organizers, a national demonstration has been called by all these families, to be held in Washington D.C. at the U.S. Department of Justice on August 28, 2014. Another national demonstration will be held at the United Nations in New York and is scheduled for November 17, 2014.