HOUSTON — A national Latino rights organization has launched an awareness campaign ahead of an upcoming trial following the death of a Latino man after an altercation with an off-duty Harris County deputy sheriff and her husband.
Mijente installed a white- and orange-lettered billboard on Monday that reads: “Justice for John Hernandez. He was a father, a son, a friend." The billboard, on Interstate 10 before Highway 610.
Deputy Sheriff Chauna Thompson, and her husband, Terry Thompson, have been indicted on homicide charges and are set to appear before the Harris Country Criminal Court on Friday. The Harris County Medical Examiner determined that Hernandez, 24, died of asphyxiation from pressure on his chest, three days after a May 28 incident that was shot on a cell phone.
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The video taken by a witness shows Terry Thompson locking Hernandez in a chokehold and pressing him against the floor while his wife held his arm down outside of a Denny’s in Sheldon. The Thompsons had confronted Hernandez after seeing him urinating at the restaurant's parking lot.
Thompson is temporarily suspended from her duties; County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said he is going to wait for the outcome of the investigation to determine if she will be removed from the force entirely.
If found guilty, the couple is facing a maximum of life sentence or a minimum of five years in prison. They are currently released on bail of $100,000 each.
Hernandez leaves behind a wife and young daughter; the 3-year-old was present during the incident.