Bellaire Police Sergeant Back To Work After Being Acquitted Of Aggravated Assault
Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton is back to work after being acquitted on aggravated assault charges for the shooting of Bellaire resident Robbie Tolan on the lawn of his parents’ home Dec. 31, 2008.
Cotton was acquitted May 11 by a Harris County jury following a week-long trial.
David Donahue, legal administrator for Cotton’s attorney, Paul Aman, said Cotton has been back to work following the May 11 verdict.
“He’s doing his job,” Donahue said.
Donahue said Cotton rode along with another Sergeant at first, but now he’s back to his old routine.
“We kind of knew this was going to be the turnout all along,” he said. “If you sat and listened to the evidence you would have said not guilty also.”
Quanell X, along with other community activists, gathered in front of the Bellaire Police Department on May 12, protesting the “not guilty” verdict.
The protestors could be heard saying, ““Jeffrey Cotton has to go. No justice, no peace.”
Since then, Donahue said the community has been positive about Cotton going back to work.
“We’ve gotten more positive [feedback],” he said. “Everything’s been positive.”
Cotton was charged with shooting Robbie Tolan on the front lawn of his Bellaire home on New Year’s Eve 2008 after Bellaire Police Officer John Edwards mistakenly thought he was driving a stolen vehicle. Edwards entered the wrong license plate number and thought Robbie Tolan and his cousin, Anthony Cooper, had stolen a vehicle.
Edwards held Robbie Tolan and Anthony Cooper at gunpoint while he waited for Cotton to arrive at the residence in the 800 block of Woodstock. Robert Tolan and Marian Tolan came out of their home when they heard a commotion outside and tried to tell police that they lived there and that Robbie Tolan and Anthony Cooper were their kids. Cotton arrived and tried to move Marian Tolan towards the garage so she would be out of his way.
Robbie Tolan was shot when he got up off the ground, protesting to Cotton shoving his mother, Marian Tolan, against their garage door. Cotton testified that he thought Robbie Tolan was armed and was reaching for something in his waistband.
The criminal trial went on for almost a week and the jury came to a verdict of “not guilty” after deliberating for four hours.
Cotton told reporters after hearing the “not guilty” verdict that he was glad the trial was over.
“I’m glad that it’s over,” Cotton said on his way out of the courtroom on May 11. “I just want to get back to work.”