On Mother’s Day 1977, the body of a Mexican-American man was found floating in Houston’s Buffalo Bayou.

It was the body of Jose Campos Torres (also known as Joe), a 23-year-old Army veteran who was last seen in police custody.

When the body was found, people started to ask questions about what happened to Jose. The officers involved were eventually charged and convicted for his murder, but although the officers involved were charged and convicted, their sentence was suspended and they got a $1 fine.

The death of Jose Campos Torres started a chain of events that culminated in a violent uproar nearly a year later in Houston’s Latino community. Known as the Moody Park Riots, the event changed many lives forever—and brought reflection about the racial makeup of Houston’s police department.

Image courtesy of the Facebook page of Carlos Calbillo’s documentary “Jose Campos Torres, The Case of”

12 thoughts on “Remembering Moody Park: The Death That Sparked a Houston Riot

  1. I left Houston in 65, didn’t return until I retired and still worked in DC. I now live in PA and this is the first time I’ve heard of Jose and even if he was army and I was navy we are still brothers and he will not be forgotten.

  2. Yes I remember
    . Thinking he was at a bar on Lockwood closer to Harrisburg.. they started Fakin with him while sitting in a corner by himself.. escalated into an argument where police got called into the situation.. having martial skills he defending himself.. they couldn’t handle him.. nor the cops.. they drew 1st blood.. they beat the crap out of him while in cuffs.. once arriving at headquarters downtown they refused to take him in 4a mug shot because of the severe beating which would confirm instantly on the picture.. so next best thing for them to hide the evidence was toss him into the bayou just at the end of the backside where prisoner’s are taken in.. all this assuming was still alive only to drown him.. and that’s a fact jack..RIP BROTHER.. his mom lives off dismuke by the elementary.. always greet her if outside since she finally fenced the yard off.. to let her know that we will never 4get.. an act of MURDERERS

  3. I am embarrassed, as a Chicano, to have heard this for the first time…today. May he never be forgotten.

    1. Amen may he never be forgotten and may it never happen again to our chicano raza. We must let our voices be heard or we will again defend our rights as citizens our freedom , we must not let this continue to happen to any raza we all humans . they want guerra les damos guerra !!! 😡😡😡😎

  4. As African Americans are targeting statues and the country forefathers whom were slave owners we Latinos also suffered under the ruthless, non caring Texas Rangers back during the time Texas was about to become a State! One Historic attack was when they the Rangers rode into a small Mexican village and rounded up all the men and teenage males and executed them . The village was named Porvenir or how about when these Rangers caught a innocent Mexican who couldn’t speak English and placed a noose around the neck and next made his horse charge off a a very fast speed until the Mexicans head was torn off. That is a pain worst than hanging! One such ruthless killer was Ranger Captain James Monroe Fox!!!!

  5. This Really Really hurts me to the core. You know why ? No I am not Mexican. But I was at the apartments next door to Moody Park that day.
    I had a friend named Pamela Adlo that lived there with her mother, Mama Ruby. I had come over to pick up Pam . We were headed over to the
    Kim Soo karate dojo.
    All of a sudden , we got the news about the riots.
    I knew that we could NOT win. Against the police.
    The only way to win is with a good set of attorneys.
    Still my songs have helped. Real Talk Lyrics !

  6. Honoring Joe Campos Torres, on this day! We will never forget the wrongdoings of those six police officers who killed you! I am Mexican and live in Texas. They continue to discriminate against us all the time, and will not STOP until All the Mexican -Americans unite, and demand justice for all of us!

  7. I was there at Moody Park to support Jose Campos Torres a veteran, who was brutally murdered by cops. It was peaceful but intense and pack. Sat on the grass and then we stood… it was hot and air not circulating. A lot of old friends were there for support. Thank God I left before the riots started.

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