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Crear / Dowling St. Shootout

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Interviewer: Do you have like an example of a time that you guys came together, the Rainbow Coalition, that you could recall? Crear: Boy, it’s been so long ago. I mean, mainly would be like maybe at a rally or march or like a Campos, when they threw him in the bayou. Interviewer: You talking about Jose Campos Torres? Crear: Yeah. You know, issues like that was stuff that we could come together on. Interviewer: So, police brutality cases? Crear: Yeah, basically, or say—those organizations that I just mentioned, they were down—when Carl was assassinated, they were down there on Dowling with Carl and People’s Party II. Like I said, you interview Gloria, Gloria was down there with a gun. Anything specific, like I said, it was a long time ago, but when issues would come up. It was issues that come up that they had, they needed support, then we were there or that we had, they would be there to support us. Interviewer: Can you describe the Dowling Street shootout? Crear: Well, what happened on Dowling, the whole issue started with—there was a brother selling a newspaper. Carl came up and you know asked what the problem was. First thing the policeman said was “What are you doing with that gun?” Carl told him he had a Constitutional right to bear arms and defend himself. Policeman started walking toward him and Carl told him, “Hey, don’t walk up on me. Stop right there.” So, the policeman went for his gun and Carl went for his gun. So, it was a standoff. They called backup, but before they knew it, the whole community was out there. For about a week, they put out an arrest warrant for Carl, Carl said no he wasn’t going to turn himself in. For about a week, from Elgin to McGowan on Dowling was in control of the people. People started coming from all over the city, Sunnyside, Pleasantville. Black people with guns came down there said we not going to, you know—so, on the night of the shootout which was planned. They tried to say Carl had opened fire on them, but I mean, they had busloads of police blocks away. They were having a rally and Carl was speaking and these sisters came and said there was some white men on top of the church, Saint John’s Baptist Church down on—which is the highest point there. So, Carl and Barty Hale, they went down to see what was happening. So, they went down there and when they proceeded to cross the street, the police opened fire. It was snipers. They opened fire. Hit Carl. Shot Barty Hale in the shoulder. He was a member of the John Brown Revolutionaries, Barty Hale. There was this very courageous woman, she was in a Volkswagen. She came and picked Carl up. Put him in a car and took him to a hospital, but it was too late. Also, Johnny Cower got shot. Blew off his heel. That whole thing, and I wish we could find recording, but it was recorded because it was four people on the roof. It was three policeman snipers and they had a reporter who had interviewed Carl a few days before. So, they had him up there to make sure they had the right person, to identify him. It was a tape. You can hear him, this reporter say, “Well, there he goes. There he goes right there.” They said, “Did you get him? Did you get him?” “Yeah we got that nigger.” So, it was planned. It was murder. It was assassination. They tried to say that Carl, that they were shooting at them, but didn’t nobody fire no shots. They were just trying to see what was going on, what they was doing up there. They was up there for that purpose. They were snipers with rifles, so, you know, it was all planned.

Interview Interview with John Crear
Subjects Race Relations
Police and Law Enforcement
Police and Law Enforcement › Police Brutality
Media › Black Newspapers
Black Power › Black Panthers
Tags Torres, Joe Campos
Hampton, Carl
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Interview date 2016-06-06
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Crear, John
Interviewers Enriquez, Sandra
Rodriguez, Samantha
Locations Houston, TX
Dowling St. Houston, TX
Duration 00:05:04
Citation "Dowling St. Shootout ," from John Crear oral history interview with Sandra Enriquez and Samantha Rodriguez,  June 06, 2016, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed August 10, 2020