Quanell X (center) at Joe Horn protest, December 2, 2007
|Born||Quanell Ralph Evans
December 7, 1970
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Organization||New Black Panther Party, Nation of Islam|
Quanell Ralph Evans was born in Los Angeles, California. Both parents were Nation of Islam converts. When they divorced, Evans moved to Houston to live with his mother and younger brother in the South Acres neighborhood, where he attended Worthing High School. Quanell was a drug dealer in the Sunnyside community located in southern Houston, Texas. Quanell served jail time for selling crack cocaine in the Sunnyside and Acres Homes subdivisions in Houston, Texas, in the 1980s.
Entry and ejection from the Nation of Islam
In September 1990, Quanell Evans was inspired by a Louis Farrakhan speech at Sam Houston Coliseum and joined the Nation of Islam against his parents' wishes. The newly dubbed Quanell X quickly became a spokesman in the organization.
In July 1992, Quanell X found his brother Quinten Evans dead in his apartment with three others, all with bullets to their heads. In August 2009, three incarcerated men were charged with capital murder in the killings. Around this time Quanell X met State Representative Ron Wilson (D-Houston); he would eventually work for Wilson as an aide for a short while.
I say to Jewish America: Get ready … knuckle up, put your boots on, because we're ready and the war is going down. … The real deal is this: Black youth do not want a relationship with the Jewish community or the mainstream white community or the foot shuffling, head-bowing, knee bobbing black community. … All you Jews can go straight to hell.
I seek the forgiveness of every survivor who has heard the words I've said. I did not say them in the proper manner to make the point I was trying to get across. I can see and understand how they might be utterly paranoid (of) a person such as myself.
Quanell X was forced out of the Nation of Islam for publicly inciting violence with his televised, and highly publicized, exhortation to Houston-area blacks:
[i]f you feel that you just got to mug somebody because of your hurt and your pain, go to River Oaks and mug you some good white folks. If you’re angry that our brother is put to death, don’t burn down your own community, give these white folks hell from the womb to the tomb.
After leaving the Nation of Islam, Quanell X joined a paramilitary group named MFOI, an acronym for Mental Freedom Obtains Independence. The new faction was not designed to attract significant exoteric membership. After the MFOI removed Quanell, he joined the New Black Panther Party under the leadership of Khalid Abdul Muhammad and is now a local leader of the organization.
Since becoming a leader of the New Black Panthers, Quanell X has made himself and his views heard through public demonstrations and assistance with the surrender of outstanding suspects to law enforcement agencies.
Jeffrey Battle served as a bodyguard for Quanell X in Houston during the late 1990s. Battle was notable as one of the Portland Seven, a group of American Muslims who tried to aid the Taliban in Afghanistan following the events of September 11, 2001. In October 2002 Quanell X traveled to Portland, Oregon, to attend a court hearing for October Lewis, Battle's ex-wife. Lewis was released at the hearing. Battle was convicted of sedition, and is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence.
On March 30, 2004 Quanell X took the podium at a Houston City Council meeting and demanded that reparations for slavery be put on the council agenda. This demand had previously been denied by mayor Bill White. The exchange escalated enough that Houston police were called to remove Quanell forcibly from the chamber.
In June 2004 Quanell X was charged with evading arrest. He was on the phone with a Houston Police Department assistant police chief (Charles R. McClelland - now the HPD chief since 2010) when arranging the surrender of cop shooter Derrick Forney.
Quanell X is credited with helping officers with the investigation of the March 2007 murder of Texas A&M University student Tynesha Stewart. He helped obtain a confession from Timothy Wayne Shepherd, the suspect in the murder. He also criticized the Harris County sheriff's decision not to search for Stewart's body in a Humble, Texas area landfill. Stewart's body was later discovered to be unrecoverable due to suspect burning remains in two barbecue pits.
Joe Horn protest
Quanell X led a rally in front of the Pasadena, Texas, home of Joe Horn on December 2, 2007. Horn had shot and killed two men, Hernando Riascos Torres (AKA Miguel Antonio DeJesus) and Diego Ortiz, illegal immigrants and members of a burglary and fake ID ring from Colombia. The pair had broken into a neighbor's house. Horn, against repeated requests of the 911 operator not to confront the burglars, exited his home to confront them. On the 911 tapes Horn exclaims, "Move, and you're dead", followed by three shotgun blasts.
Quanell X, who thought the shootings may have been racially motivated, approached Horn's house to speak to the media. He was overwhelmed by several hundred counter-protesters protecting Horn from Quanell X's accusations. The crowd of counter-protesters included bikers revving their motorcycles, many of them chanting, "USA," "Go home," and "We love our country; what do you love?" while waving placards, Texas flags, and US flags. Quanell X could not be heard over the noise, even when using a bullhorn, and left the area about eight minutes later. He returned soon after with more supporters and attempted to speak again, but the counter-protests continued. Riot police were readied in case of violence between the two groups. Quanell X believed that because Horn was white and not black, he was not prosecuted. On June 25, 2008 the case was sent to a grand jury to decide whether or not Horn should go to trial. On June 30, 2008 Horn was cleared by a Harris County Grand Jury in the deaths of Ortiz and Diego after two weeks of testimony. Quanell eventually made a speech on another street away from Horn's house. The speech included chants of "black power" and the exhortation for blacks to ignore "white law."
2008 to 2010
Quanell X called for Chuck Rosenthal's resignation following the email scandal that showed that he had sent and received racist messages, and organized a rally to take place outside the county courthouse January 24, 2008. In October 2008, KTRK-TV reported that Quanell X was paid $20,000 in "consultation fees" to arrange these protests and generate publicity during the related Iberra trial.
He was instrumental in having a murder suspect, Randy Sylvester Sr., reveal the locations of his missing children. After initially giving Sylvester the benefit of the doubt, he was convinced otherwise when he went with Pasadena police and Sylvester to an apartment he maintained separately from his family's that he called his "dog house." There, Sylvester engaged in drugs and pornography. Quanell X would not go into detail, but other things he learned in that apartment changed his mind about Sylvester. He convinced the suspect to "Do the right thing" and lead Quanell X and police to a location just outside Pasadena, Texas in Houston, where the charred remains were located.
In March 2011 Quanell X traveled to Cleveland, Texas to support 18 men allegedly involved in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl. Quannell X spoke out against the victim, claiming she did not do enough to prevent herself from being gang raped. He later went on to claim the girl's parents were also responsible for her assault: "It was not the young girl that yelled rape. Stop right there -- something is wrong, brothers and sisters." and "Where was the mother? Where was the father?"
On August 1, 2011, Quanell X pleaded with the residents of inner city neighborhoods to stop the "No Snitching" policy that institutes a bias of those who provide information to police after a series of crimes and murders have plagued the Third Ward area in recent weeks. He said, "The no-snitch policy does not work when you have having [sic] our elders and our women and our children live like hostages."
In November 2011, KHOU-TV, the CBS television affiliate in Houston, reported on complaints from individuals who asserted that they paid Quanell X for help they did not receive. Sandra Laday, a notable community activist in her own right, asked Quanell X to help her in finding out about her own son's murder. After giving Quanell X $600 she received no help from him and said “I feel like I was taken advantage of.” Also, Hilda Pete, who was the mother of a murder suspect, asked Quanell X to help in getting her son off murder charges. She reportedly gave Quanell X $9,000 and asserts he did very little to help her and her son. Quanell X reportedly often asks for the money upfront and in cash. Pete was quoted as saying "He's a con artist" when speaking about Quanell X.
In July 2013, Quannell and others protested and effectively blocked Texas State Highway 288 over the acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Protesters on Highway 288 blocked and assaulted an elderly woman who was rushing her granddaughter to the hospital after an allergic reaction to medication. A large protest was also held in the affluent River Oaks neighborhood. Reports varied as to whether there were just under 1,000 or more than 1,000 people attended the River Oaks demonstration and a counter-demonstration drew an estimated crowd of 80 people. Despite threats of violence, both sides kept their peace.
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