Murder of Joe Campos Torres

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Joe Campos Torres

Joe Campos Torres (December 20, 1953 - May 5, 1977) was a 23-year-old Vietnam Veteran who was beaten by several Houston police officers and subsequently died. His death sparked protests and the outcome of the trial was met with rioting.


Torres had been arrested at a Houston bar for disorderly conduct.The officers then took Torres to the city jail, who refused to process him due to his injuries. They were ordered to take him to Ben Taub General Hospital, but instead of doing so, the officers brought him back to the banks of Buffalo Bayou and pushed him into the water. Torres’s body was found two days later six police officers took Torres to a spot called “The Hole” next to Buffalo Bayou and released him he than took off running to the bayou and jumped into the water after the officers looked into the water they saw torres climbing out of the water at which point they left seeing that he was ok. After the departure of the officers Torres fell back into the water and drowned. The news media created a spin off to where it made the officers seem at fault when they had no hand in his death other than releasing him in the wrong area when he was intoxicated still. [1]


Trial and aftermath[edit]

Officers Terry Denson and Steven Orlando were tried on state murder charges. They were convicted of negligent homicide and received one year of probation and a $1 fine.[2] Denson, Orlando and Officer Joseph Janish were later convicted of federal civil rights violations in 1978, and served nine months in prison.

Those sentences sparked riots in Moody Park in Houston's Near Northside neighborhood, on the 1st anniversary of his death. in which protesters fired on police, EMS, and Fire fighters and caused thousands in damages. Police were there day and night batteling the protesters and were authorized deadly force against those fireing upon first responders. [3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nation: End of the Rope". Time Magazine. Apr 17, 1978. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  2. ^ Williams, Jack (May 8, 2008). "Echos of Moody Park: 30 years later". KUHF-FM NPR. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  3. ^ Remembering the Moody Park riot
  4. ^ CBS Evening News for Monday, May 08, 1978