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On December 31, 2008, 23-year-old Robbie Tolan was shot in his own driveway after police in Bellaire, Texas, a suburb of Houston, mistakenly accused him and his cousin of stealing their own family car.

The car, however, wasn’t stolen. The police entered the wrong number into the computer and retrieved the incorrect license plate information. The Tolan family filed a civil lawsuit against Officer Jeffrey Cotton, which made it all the way up to the Supreme Court, before the High Court kicked it back down to the federal court for consideration.

On Monday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin talked with Robbie Tolan and Attorney Benjamin Crump about the case and the new hearing slated to take place on Sept. 14.

Crump told Martin the Tolan family is “still fighting for simple justice” seven years later.

The Houston Chronicle reported:

An emergency motion and affidavit were filed Sunday asking U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon to recuse herself from the case. The documents cite comments she made on Friday at a pretrial hearing that lawyers for Robbie Tolan contend “disclose that the judge can no longer be an impartial arbiter of this case.”


On Monday, Harmon denied the recusal request and stated that Tolan’s trial against Officer Jeffrey Cotton remained set to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

As a baseball player at Prairie View A&M University and son of MLB player Bobby Tolan, Robbie’s own career was over as a result of the shooting. The bullet became lodged in his liver, where it settled and threatened his life.

“I tried to go back and play a year, but the physical demands were just too much on me. I know I couldn’t keep it up so — it ended my career,” he said.

On the night of the violent incident, Tolan’s parents found him and his cousin lying on the ground when they came outside to inform the officer the car was theirs. Bellaire police officer Jeffery Cotton then grabbed and threw Tolan’s mom against the garage, and Tolan said he “rose up” to tell the police officer to release his mother.

That’s when Cotton shot him.

Watch Martin, Crump, Tolan, and the NewsOne Now Straight Talk Panel discuss the shooting and the Tolan v. Cotton trial, scheduled to begin today at 9 A.M.

SOURCE: Houston Chronicle

Mark your calendars! TV One NewsOne Now moves to 7 A.M. ET starting Monday September 14th. Until then, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


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Civil Rights Case Against Texas Police Begins For Police Brutality Victim Robbie Tolan  was originally published on

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