You all are aware of the acquittal earlier this year of the Bellaire officer who shot my cousin Robbie in front of his house in Bellaire. You may also remember there was a story on Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports in 2009 on the shooting. There will be a follow-up story that will be air in this month’s edition of Real Sports on HBO starting tonight, August 17th at 9PM CDT. It will be rebroadcast multiple times during the next couple of weeks.
HBO Sports revisits its February 2009 investigation piece on Robbie Tolan, the young black minor league baseball player shot by a police officer on his parent’s doorstep in Bellaire, Tx, a white enclave in the greater Houston area. Tolan dreamed of following in the footsteps of his father, retired Major League Baseball outfielder Bobby Tolan. But in the early morning of Dec. 31, 2008, those dreams came to a halt when police held him at gunpoint and wrongly accused him of driving a stolen car. When his parents protested and were themselves detained by police, the confrontation led to Robbie Tolan being nearly fatally shot in the chest. Since the story first aired, Jeffery Cotton, the police officer who shot Tolan was indicted and tried for aggravated assault and finally acquitted in a jury trial, angering many in the black community. The Tolans now vow to press federal civil rights case against the officer and Bellaire. Real Sports has obtained footage from the night of the shooting in which Officer Cotton describes to investigators why he fired at Tolan. With the bullet still lodged in his liver, Robbie Tolan has miraculously returned to minor league baseball to pursue his dream of playing in the big leagues like his father.