Parents of 24-year-old shot to death by deputy constable take legal action to see body cam video

- For tollway drivers, this scene on April 28th was a temporary inconvenience. But it brought a permanent heartbreak to the parents of 24-year-old Ashtian Barnes.

“I never thought I’d go through anything like this,” said Ashtian’s father Tommy Barnes. “There are days I just drive and cry.”

”In this case the victim’s family has been told very little,” said attorney Howard Fomby. “What they’ve been told is often contradictory.”

Barnes’ parents and their attorney say three weeks after the shooting law officers told them they found a gun under the driver’s seat of the car Ashtian was driving when a Precinct 5 deputy constable pulled him over for tollway violations.

“Does that make any sense that all these officers would miss something in the very first place you’d look in a search,” Fomby said.

On the day of the shooting, HPD said Barnes accelerated and the deputy shot him after Barnes tried to take his gun.

For three months his parents and their attorney say they’ve asked the Precinct 5 Constable’s Office, The Houston Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office to see the deputy’s body cam video.

“Even if we can sit with you guys...we don’t need to take it,” said Janice Barnes Ashtian’s mother. “You saw it why can’t we see it you were able to say your officer was justified so let me see what you’re justifying that’s all I want.”

“If Ashtian made some serious mistakes that led to his death then that’s important to know,” Fomby said.

“All I want to do is see the tape,” said Tommy Barnes. “If you feel it’s justified then let me see the tape.”

Fomby has filed court papers asking a judge to let him depose the law agencies involved and grant the family access to the dash cam and police body cam videos linked to this case.

“We just want to know the truth,” said Fomby.

We called the Precinct 5 Constables Office for response but we haven’t gotten a call back.

HPD says the case hasn’t been reviewed by all the appropriate entities yet so releasing it now would be premature.

The D.A.’s office tells us it’s not theirs to release and also points out that according to state law if family members get to view it then it must be made public for all to see.

That’s a law the D.A. says she would like to see changed.   

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