Down on Sherman Street

In the old neighborhood, Joe Lee Calloway played dominoes and hung out with his buddies. Until a Grand Prairie cop killed him right there

The mimosa tree stands between two houses sheathed in aluminum. It grows in a yard on Sherman Street, in the waning heart of Dalworth, a predominantly black Grand Prairie neighborhood where drugs are sold in vacant lots amid boarded-up houses waiting to be torn down.

The tree's branches shade a round plastic table and several folding chairs. Beneath the mimosa, the older men, their lives ebbing along with this once-fine neighborhood, gather each day to play dominoes.

If life was not mean, Joe Lee Calloway would surely still come to the table, a baseball cap tugged down over his graying curls. The chilly November winds, the ones that numb a man's bones, would make Calloway's shattered right knee stiffen. He would put a sweater on his dog, Nose, and Nose would there too.

But the man they called Uncle Joe died on October 7, a Monday, shot at least twice by Grand Prairie police officer Blake Hubbard. The killing occurred not too far from the dominoes table. Calloway collapsed, blood spreading across the front of his neatly ironed shirt, in the backyard of the shotgun house his parents first bought when they moved to Dalworth some 40 years ago.

On the day Calloway was killed, his mind had been too jumbled for dominoes. He was wrestling with the turbulent visions brought on by paranoid schizophrenia, an illness that had haunted him for two decades. He spent the morning wandering up and down Sherman Street, which is why the police were called.

Within hours of the killing, a flock of reporters and camera crews descended upon the impoverished neighborhood. That night's news and the next morning's papers recounted the story in the accepted form--a homeless, mentally ill black man was shot because he wielded a knife, harassed motorists, and threatened one of the cops who came for him.

Since the killing, Officer Hubbard has been stripped of his badge and indicted for murder.

It now appears that Calloway's death may have resulted from what police call a bad shooting, one that never should have happened. Hubbard's actions were briefly the grist for talk radio, and the fired officer appeared on one call-in show to defend his name.

Some law enforcement organizations have since risen to Hubbard's defense, and the details of Calloway's death--exactly what happened, how many shots were fired--await a full examination by the courts.

The story of a dead crazy black man is now fading, just like Dalworth is fading, just like Calloway was fading before he died.

But one image should not be left to linger--the depiction of Calloway as a desperate lunatic, homeless and alone in the world.

That characterization is far too simple.
And it is not fair to Joe Lee Calloway.

The news reports kept saying that Joe Lee Calloway was homeless. In fact, he could not have been more at home the day Blake Hubbard killed him. Nearby were his friends, his family, his old school, the places he had worked, and property he had once owned.

Calloway and his twin sister, Deseree, had entered the world on February 29, 1944, the youngest of four children born to Joseph and Catherine Calloway. Joe Lee Sr. was retired when he and Catherine moved to Dalworth in the '50s and purchased a little home at 2013 Sherman Street in which to raise their family.

Up to the day he died in the backyard of his parents' first house--which had long since passed from the family--Calloway never strayed far from the neighborhood.

Born with a hole in her heart, Deseree Calloway died as a teenager. His twin's unexpected death was something Joe Lee Calloway never got over, his daughter Chandra Calloway says.

"We were walking around the apartments one day, and he told me how [he and Deseree] would find crickets, and he would rip their heads off and chase her around. Right then, a cricket jumped up on us," Chandra recalls, laughing. "I swear he went back 20 years. He chased me all around those apartments."

Calloway attended the neighborhood school, which then included kindergarten through high school. One year, he was named to the all-district football team as an offensive guard for the Dalworth Dragons. The schoolhouse he attended--now just an elementary school--still stands near Nance James Park, where an older Calloway would often sleep under a picnic table.

After graduating from high school, Calloway worked as a janitor at the J.C. Penney store on Main Street in Arlington. For about 25 years, he walked in and out of various maintenance jobs in the Grand Prairie area, never seeming to be concerned with climbing any career ladders.

Calloway was the father of three children, who also grew up in Grand Prairie and still live there. His ex-wife, Ruby, still lives there as well. Calloway was spared a trip to Vietnam in 1965 when son Charles was born on Thanksgiving day. Chandra Calloway was born two years later. Chandra says she recently discovered that she has a half-sister who also lives in Grand Prairie.

Calloway tried to keep a hand in the raising of his children, worked when he could, and counted many friends. But mental illness took over his life.

Charles Calloway says his father's mental illness made its first appearance in 1976, in the form of a nervous breakdown. He can't recall many details about the breakdown, but says his father never let his illness steal his lust for life.

In the mid-'80s, Calloway was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. As part of his treatment, he was often pumped full of Thorazine, a drug that quells the frightening delusions brought on by the illness. The medication eased Calloway's mind, but it also put him in a constant state of grogginess. He could sleep for two days straight.

Calloway likened the treatment to being locked in a soundproof room with glass walls.

"One day he said, 'You know, when I'm on that medication I can see ya'll talking to me, but I can't hear what's going on,'" his son recalls.

Rather than living in a muted world, Calloway frequently avoided medication and chose to face the demons. At those times, Charles and his wife, Elizabeth, helped Calloway overcome the seizures and anxiety. For the most part, they say, Calloway could take care of himself.

"He was a very stubborn person," Elizabeth says. "This was the kind of man who had to work for what he was getting. He didn't want to live off of anyone."

When Calloway slid off his medication, the schizophrenia spawned invisible antagonists who lured Calloway into a state of paranoia. Even then, family and friends say that Calloway didn't frighten them and that he never tried to harm anyone. Dallas and Tarrant County court files show no record that Calloway has ever been convicted of a crime.

In the late '80s, Calloway worked for the city's park and recreation board and for the school district. He lived alone in several Dalworth-area apartments, but eventually moved into a duplex which faced his parents' first home on Sherman Street. He lived the life of a bachelor.

"He was a ladies' man. He had women everywhere," says his son, Charles, rolling his eyes.

Chandra Calloway says that her father, like many mentally ill people, would spiral downward if he stayed off his medication for too long. Although he never acted aggressively when he slipped into a delusional state, Chandra says her father presented a danger to himself.

"Once he told me, 'You might find it hard to believe, but this piece of paper was following me and it was doing tricks.' It went out in the street, so he went out in the street," Chandra Calloway says.

In 1990, Calloway's right knee was shattered after he wandered into a street and was struck by a car. Doctors tried to reconstruct the knee with metal pins, but Calloway was left disabled. Unable to work, he began to spend more time playing dominoes and wandering about Dalworth.

Over the years, friends say, Calloway learned to live with his illness--just as he insisted on walking everywhere, despite his shattered knee.

Capable of quoting Scriptures, Calloway was a devout Christian who read his Bible daily and went to church every Sunday. In the mornings, Calloway rose before sunup and walked to the Truevine Miracle Tabernacle, where he voluntarily took out the trash. By afternoon, Calloway was bound to show up at the dominoes table. Right there on Sherman Street.

"He'd tell you, 'In two plays, I'm going to send you to the pack and the game is going to be over.' He played dominoes like most people play chess," says friend Ed Hemphill, who served on the Grand Prairie city council from 1990 through 1994.

Last year, the city razed Calloway's duplex as part of an effort to combat the neighborhood's growing drug problem. Hemphill gave Calloway a key to his house, a gesture Hemphill says fit with Calloway's philosophy on life.

"He used to tell me to share whatever I could because what I had belonged to God, and he believed that. He lived by that," Hemphill says.

Although he has been called a homeless man, Calloway lived periodically in Hemphill's Dalworth home. There he kept a tidy room, which is still occupied by a king-sized waterbed and a mound of secondhand shirts which Calloway fastidiously ironed.

Calloway liked to sing the lyrics from an old song, "King of the Road." Hemphill calls his dead friend "a man of means, by no means."

Ruby Calloway presses her palms on her cheeks as she recalls meeting Joe Lee Calloway at their senior prom in 1963. Calloway abandoned his date, and he and Ruby left the dance together, igniting a romance that would lead to marriage a year later.

"I wasn't too quick to talk to boys. I had no idea that he had any interest in me. Oh," she says, pausing for a moment to let the memory of her husband return. "He was so fine."

Chandra Calloway looks over at her mother and cocks an eyebrow. "She thought the sun rose and set on Joe Lee Calloway," she says, the two breaking out in girlish giggles.

The mother and daughter are seated at the glass dining table inside Chandra's modest apartment on Grand Prairie's north side.

A blue dump truck has been knocked on its side, its load of Toy Story figurines spilled out onto the living room carpet. Chandra's son, Joseph Calloway, gleefully digs out "Woody" the cowboy and motors about the apartment, his movements slowed by the bulk of a fresh diaper.

Ruby divorced Calloway in 1976 after several years of separation. By this time, Calloway had earned a reputation for being a ladies' man. Although their marriage didn't pan out, Ruby and Calloway maintained a good relationship. He is the only boyfriend she ever had, and her love for him is apparent.

He wasn't a perfect father or husband, she says, but he was surrounded by loved ones, and he filled their lives with laughter.

The last time Ruby saw her old flame was in August, when she spotted Calloway from her car as he was walking through Dalworth with his dog Nose. As usual, Calloway was looking for a laugh.

"I stopped and he said, 'Hey beautiful, don't I know you?' I said, 'You should,'" remembers Ruby, who agreed to give Joe Lee a ride that day. "By the time he got in the car and shut the door, I said 'Where are you going?' He said 'right here.'"

Ruby Calloway says her husband valued life's simple pleasures, and dominoes was his abiding passion.

"When I came home from the hospital after giving birth to Charles, after I was in bed and the baby was in bed, he was in there playing dominoes," she says. "He had a dominoes fetish for as long as I can remember."

The best times Chandra had as a child with her father involved dominoes. "Most people would have the dinner time to talk about family events. We would be at the dominoes table with salami sandwiches and lemon drink," Chandra says, adding that the snack was one of her father's favorites. "He always said you have to use your common sense. You have to understand human nature, and he did. That's how he stayed out of any altercations."

Calloway's son, Charles, echoed his sister. "He was spiritually conscious. I even think he could see better than most people," Charles Calloway says. "I lived side by side with him for 17 years. [His illness] was nothing to be afraid of."

But Calloway's family often had cause for worry, usually when he stopped taking his medication.

"He would get into a spiritual depth where he would talk about Jesus and demons taking over people's minds," Chandra says.

On May 9, 1994, Calloway was released from the psychiatric unit at Zale Lipshy University Hospital after a month of treatment. Chandra was afraid her father's condition was worsening to the point that he would be permanently committed. Chandra and her father discussed the possibility on the day of his release.

"He stood up and said, 'Chandra, these people in here are witches and they aren't doing things that are of God.' I said, 'OK Dad, we can overcome that, but you have to realize that you have to behave a certain way before you're released.' He said OK," Chandra recalls

After his release, Calloway was supposed to return to Zale Lipshy once a month for a shot of Haldol. Eight months after Calloway got out, though, the Grand Prairie police responded to a call about a disturbance inside Calloway's Sherman Street duplex.

"He was arguing, but nobody was there," says Chandra, who later tried to convince Calloway to come live with her and her two children.

He wouldn't do it. He wanted to keep his independence, walk the old neighborhood, and meet his buddies for the daily dominoes games.

Standing a block from Sherman Street, Julius Young stomps his foot and yells "hell no" when asked if he can name a better dominoes player than Calloway.

"All us have partners. We play every day. Me and Joe, we was partners," says Young, who teamed up with Calloway earlier this year after entering drug treatment.

According to Young, the funniest thing about Calloway was how well he had trained his Nose. Still a puppy, the Chow-mix wasn't a "pretty sight," but Young says she understood English so well she could retrieve Calloway's cigarettes on command. Calloway rewarded her with hot scraps from the neighborhood chicken shack.

"That dog ate well," says Young, who breaks out in raspy laughter as he remembers how Calloway dressed Nose up in shirts and sweaters to protect her from the cold. "The only thing that dog didn't have on was sun shades and shoes."

"This place is going fast," laments Ed Hemphill, who throws his Crown Victoria into park in front of a "No Trespassing" sign posted at the edge of Nance James Park.

His eyes masked by a pair of sunglasses, Hemphill strolls over to the park's pavilion and takes a seat on one of the rickety picnic tables where Calloway often slept. Less than 50 yards behind him lies a Grand Prairie police storefront and the old Dalworth school.

Once surrounded by farm land, the pavilion now offers a view of the sprawling Poly-America plant that consumes Dalworth's southern border. Hemphill sighs as he scans the mounds of plastic, waiting to be recycled, stored on the company's cement lot.

"When I was a boy, my parents' house was right over there. Joe's mom lived a few yards away. This used to be Texas Street," says Hemphill, pointing to an area off to the left that has been converted to grassland. "That's why Joe felt serene here. He grew up here."

Chandra Calloway grew up here too, and she recalls how good life was in the old neighborhood. Back then, its bustling streets were filled with young families who would drop by each other's homes to catch up and gossip. No one locked their doors, and the sight of a police car was rare.

"It used to be a neighborhood where our family would hang out by the park. It used to be a comfort zone," Chandra remembers.

Today, Dalworth residents are living on an urban death row, waiting for the day their advancing industrial neighbors swallow them up. Dalworth is now completely hemmed in--Poly America to the south, railroad tracks to the north, and warehouses on the east and west.

Semi trucks barrel through the residential area hourly, and weeds thrive in vacant lots where homes once stood. City buses do not serve the area, so residents without cars are stranded.

In recent years, many of Dalworth's youth have taken up careers as drug dealers. Offering crack cocaine to virtually anyone who passes by, they don't attempt to be discreet about their business. Nor were they troubled when Governor George Bush recently visited Dalworth as part of an anti-drug dog-and-pony show.

Four days before Calloway was shot, Bush walked through Dalworth with members of Grand Prairie's gang control unit, pimping his proposal to enact a "stop-and-frisk" law.

For his part, Calloway wasn't afraid of the growing number of dealers and users in the neighborhood. In fact, he opened his door to them whenever they needed a place to stay.

Calloway lived in the duplex on Sherman Street until December 1995, when the city demolished the building and four others nearby. The buildings had been cited for "hundreds" of violations, according to Mike Foreman, the senior code enforcement officer for the city of Grand Prairie.

"The owner could not keep them in a state that met the city's ordinances. He released them to the city for demolition," Foreman stated.

Because he was on disability, Calloway was eligible for a housing certificate that would have covered his moving costs. But Foreman says Calloway never came into the office to complete the necessary paperwork. Instead, he chose to spend more time in the streets.

Chandra Calloway shakes her head and laughs as she recalls her father's stubbornness.

"My father, he's not militant, but he'd take a shower at Ed [Hemphill's] house, get his chair and say, 'Edward, this is my protest because they knocked my house down.' That was how people in the neighborhood saw him," she says.

Firing up his engine, Hemphill cruises through the neighborhood, nodding at several friends he sees along the way. As he drives up Manning Street toward Sherman--the same route Governor Bush walked--he points out a group of loitering teenagers who he says are drug dealers. Even though it is a Tuesday morning, no one bothers to ask why the kids aren't in school.

"Joe used to get one of those chairs and sit right here and read his Bible," Hemphill recalls as he parks the car and joins the men gathered at the dominoes table under the mimosa tree. Hemphill grabs a chair and hunkers down to watch his friends Eddie and James square off in a friendly showdown.

A square of plywood placed across the round Formica table top functions as a score card, its rough surface covered with white chalk marks. They reveal that James and Eddie are in a dead heat on this brisk November morning.

"To me, [Calloway's] just a good person. A decent person. He loved the challenge at the dominoes table," says James, who divvies up the blue and white plastic dominoes with the speed of a Las Vegas pro.

"Joe will tell you he was the reigning champion," Eddie says, slapping down a big six and laughing so hard his belly wobbles.

Robert Carroway hovers in the background, tugging at a cluster of unwrapped cigars stuffed in the front pocket of his blue corduroy jumpsuit. Every time he squared off against Joe, Carroway says he took second place.

"Joe really inspired me, and I'd like to remember that," he says. "To see him survive, it inspired me and others. Everybody. He inspired."

At this table, the discussion of Joe Lee Calloway quickly turns into one about how bad the neighborhood has become and how poorly the police are responding. Several men cite various examples of how they have been stopped by the police for no reason.

"We've all been victims of circumstances at one point or another," Eddie says, a circle of heads nodding in agreement.

The men wonder who will be the next "Joe."
"I could leave, but this is where I was raised. Joe was around people he knew here. I'm a Joe," says the soft-spoken Carroway. He then asks the question that lives on as the most disturbing legacy of Calloway's death.

"What was his crime?"

"I will be 31 in the next nine days," Charles Calloway says, letting out a sigh and biting his lower lip. "There were promises I had made to myself. My number one priority was to reconcile with my dad. It can't be done now. That's what I have to sleep on every day. I loved my dad. All of this is just craziness now."

Charles Calloway spoke with his father for the last time 45 minutes before Calloway was killed. Charles was driving to the high school track for an afternoon jog when he spotted his father and stopped to chat.

"I said, 'look out old man' and he said 'watch out boy,'" says Charles. "I was thinking this was my opportunity to address what I had been talking about."

Around 4 p.m. on Monday, October 7, Tony Price says he was sitting at his back door when he saw Calloway standing in the middle of Sherman Street--directly in front of the lot where Calloway's duplex stood before the city tore it down.Calloway was swiping at the air with a knife, spinning himself in half circles with each swing. Although local news reported Calloway was harassing motorists, Price says he moved to the sidewalk any time a car passed.

Chandra Calloway is still trying to determine whether her father was off his medication that day, but according to witnesses, he was acting like he was having a bout with his demons. Responding to a call from a concerned neighbor, Grand Prairie police officer Barry Fletcher parked his car at the end of the block and approached Calloway with his gun drawn.

The officer reportedly returned the weapon to its holster and ordered Calloway to drop his pocket knife. With each step forward Fletcher took, Price says Calloway took one backward.

"Joe had his hands out like the spread of an airplane. He was trying to get away from the policeman," says Price.

Unable to convince Calloway to cooperate, Fletcher unloaded mace in Calloway's face. Still unable to subdue Calloway, Fletcher got out his billy club and began hitting him on the neck, shoulders, and arm, according to Price.

"Joe kept yelling 'Quit that. Ouch. It hurts,'" says Price, who watched as Fletcher and Calloway backed down the sidewalk and turned into the yard at 2013 Sherman Street--the house where Calloway was raised.

Calloway was trapped in the corner of the yard's chain link fence when Blake Hubbard's squad car sped down Sherman Street and skidded to a halt in front of the house.

Neighbors have unanimously praised Fletcher's actions, noting that he kept the situation under control.

Witness Dorothy White, whom neighbors call Ms. Tiny, feels that if the newly arrived Hubbard had only been patient, he would have seen that there was no need for guns. After all, she says, Calloway was a disabled man who was backed into a corner and blinded by mace.

But Hubbard drew his gun and closed in on Calloway.
"He said 'Drop the goddamn knife, nigger.' He said 'Drop the fucking knife,'" White claims. "I got that gut feeling. An expression came over Joe's face and it looked like death. I said, 'Honey, don't shoot him.'" (Grand Prairie police deny that Hubbard used the word nigger. "Our conclusion is that he did not use that word," says Joe Dionisi, an administrative assistant to chief Harry Crumb.)

Hubbard fired into Calloway's chest. The bullets ripped through his liver, lungs, and heart, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's autopsy report.

"He just laid down to the ground like he was fixing to go to sleep. Then the blood just came spurting out. It covered his shirt like an oil spill," Price says. "Ms. Tiny already said don't kill him. There was no reason for that."

In a later radio interview, Hubbard said Calloway began to turn sideways, toward Fletcher, and raise the knife above his head. "I believed that Officer Fletcher's life was in danger," he said, explaining why he felt his decision to fire was justified.

Hubbard's attorney, John Read, says Calloway forced Hubbard to shoot by refusing to drop the knife.

"There's no question my client thought his partner was in jeopardy and that he--or another citizen--might be killed," Read says.

A blue sign reading "God Bless This House" hangs over the kitchen doorway inside Ms. Tiny's home, which sits across the street from 2013 Sherman Street. When giving her statements to police, White says, police investigators suggested that Calloway might have raised his knife to attack Fletcher.

"I'll die going to hell, he did not," insists White, who lets her anger drain out before she recalls how Calloway had stopped by that morning to visit.

"He was sitting right there in that chair. He was talking real good to me," she says. "I miss him so much. Don't nobody know how much I miss him."

Chandra Calloway was at her job as a receptionist when a friend called with the news that her father had been shot.

"I thought, 'Well, Dad must have been doing something more than usual for them to pull the trigger. He must be shot in the arm or leg,'" she says.

Chandra immediately left work and headed for Dalworth. When she got to Sherman Street and saw the yellow police tape and the crowd of people, she began to suspect that her father had been killed.

"It was a mob there. People were angry. I could hear it. I just rolled the window down and listened for two minutes," she says. "That was more than what I had prepared myself for."

Tears welling in her eyes, Chandra recalls how her cousin told her that Calloway was dead when she pulled into the parking lot at the Dallas/Fort Worth Medical Center.

"I was trying to listen, but in my mind I wasn't hearing," she says, her voice cracking slightly. "All that was in my mind was, 'I can't believe they shot my dad. I can't believe they shot my dad.'"

After his workout, Charles Calloway returned to Sherman Street just in time to see his father being lifted into an ambulance. A squad car backed up the street, and an officer told Charles Calloway he couldn't go down there because it was a crime scene.

"He had this tone in his voice like, 'Oh man, I'm talking to Joe Lee's son,'" says Charles, bowing his head and lowering his voice to a whisper. "Why did the police officer tell me I couldn't go down there? There wasn't no family around. He had to die alone."

Earlier this month, Grand Prairie Police Chief Harry Crumb fired Blake Hubbard, stating that Hubbard had "pulled the trigger too prematurely" on Joe Lee Calloway. On November 8, a Dallas County grand jury indicted Hubbard on a murder charge.

Also, in April, Norman Scott filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Hubbard and several other Grand Prairie police officers, claiming they held a gun to his head. The suit stemmed from a September 1995 incident, during which Hubbard pulled over Scott, who is black, because he was driving a pickup truck similar to that of two white men he was pursuing.

Dallas NAACP President Lee Alcorn has requested an FBI investigation into Calloway's death, arguing that Hubbard may have violated Calloway's civil rights.

Hubbard is the first officer in 23 years to face a murder charge in Dallas County for killing someone while on duty. He is now waging a publicity campaign to persuade the public that his decision to kill Calloway was justified.

Hubbard, his tearful wife Michelle, and attorney John Read answered questions and responded to caller comments for nearly two hours on The Rick Roberts Show earlier this month on KRLD-AM 1080.

In a steady voice, Hubbard told listeners that he would pull the trigger again if he ever finds himself in the same situation. He is convinced that he will be acquitted of murder, and he vowed to fight to get his job back.

"When I make it back to the street, if I have to protect another officer I will do whatever it takes," said Hubbard, whose actions were supported by a majority of the callers.

Defense attorney Read, meanwhile, lashed out at Chief Crumb, whom he accused of caving in to protests lodged by NAACP President Alcorn and his "rough riders."

"What if this was a black officer shooting a white man?" Read asked. "This would be a dead issue."

Calloway's family and several Dalworth residents think Grand Prairie's finest are rallying on their former colleague's behalf. In recent weeks, they say, police have been prowling about their homes, parking nearby, and staring at them for no apparent reason.

They believe that some officers are trying to intimidate potential witnesses in Hubbard's criminal trial, and that is sending another ripple of fear through a community still shell-shocked by Calloway's death.

For Charles and Elizabeth Calloway, the police presence and the NAACP's call for a federal investigation are adding confusion to their already chaotic lives.

The bass-heavy sound of L.A.'s Gospel Gangstas echoes inside the living room of Charles Calloway's North Grand Prairie home. A crown of thorns rattles on its hook above the CD player. A Bible rests on the coffee table, next to a copy of Harold Lindsell's book, God's Incomparable World.

After turning off the music, Calloway takes a seat on the sofa next to his wife. A youth minister at the Calvary Temple Assembly of God, Calloway says he is resisting the temptation to join in the chorus of voices denouncing Grand Prairie's police department.

"My dad did not teach me to hate people. That's why I don't hold anybody accountable except Blake Hubbard, and I don't hate him," he says. "I am here to represent how my dad would speak, what he would do, and what he would be concerned about. The one thing I know he would not want is to bring more chaos into the neighborhood."

Although the Calloways are trying to practice what Joe Lee preached, they say Grand Prairie police officers aren't making the task easy. Since Hubbard was indicted for murder on November 8, the couple says, squad cars have been rolling onto their street, their drivers parking in front of the house for several minutes at a time.

"I don't know what they're doing. You can assume so many things, but you can pretty much see them every time you turn around," Elizabeth says. "My kids are upset. They are afraid to walk to school."

The Calloways aren't the only ones who are afraid.
Tony Price stands outside his house on Spikes Street on this Tuesday morning. A squad car slowly cruises past the end of the block, which lies one block south of Sherman Street. Last week, Price says an officer parked in front of his door and did not get out of his car.

"He was looking at me crazy. I went in the house," says Price, who is joined by Hemphill and another man, who declines to give his name.

"I came out and said, 'you could speak,'" says the shivering man, who is clad in a T-shirt and jeans on this chilly morning.

"It's not random," Hemphill insists. "They're doing it to intimidate the witnesses. It's not going to work this time. They [the neighbors] are ready to burn this place down behind Joe Lee Calloway."

Grand Prairie Sergeant Doug Clancey says the residents must be confused.
"We certainly answer calls to the area," Clancey stated. When told that the alleged visits are not made in response to calls for police assistance, Clancey says, "I think someone's misinformed or putting out bad information."

Grand Prairie Police Chief Harry Crumb could not be reached for comment. Police say they have not received any complaints about the alleged harassment.

Charles Calloway concedes that it is difficult to ignore the elements of race associated with his father's death. He notes that if he were in Hubbard's shoes, he'd be "under the jail" by now. But he says his main desire is to see that justice is served.

"I am black. I have a Mexican wife. I have a white granddaughter. It's like a Rainbow Coalition going on in this house," he says, pointing his fingers at the carpet. "The problem is not that [Hubbard] is white. The problem is that he killed my dad."

Elizabeth Calloway says her father-in-law has been unfairly characterized by Hubbard and his supporters.

"As long as he's homeless, they can make it look like he has nobody and was capable of doing anything," she says.

In the event that Hubbard is acquitted of murder and successful in his promise to get his job back, the Calloways say they will move.

"Now you know it happened, but it's hard to believe it happened and how it happened. It still hasn't sunk in," says Ruby Calloway, who is interrupted by her daughter Chandra.

"Because he's never been affiliated with violence. This is the first time in 52 years he's been involved in something violent," Chandra says.

Like Charles, Chandra and Ruby Calloway have grown leery of the police. Nowadays, they are taking extra precautions to avoid being pulled over.

"When you see a police officer, your initial reaction is how is he going to react? How is he going to treat me?" Ruby says. "He might be the finest officer on the force, but your gut reaction is, 'it could happen to me.'"

Joe Lee Calloway's leather-bound King James Bible sits on his bedroom dresser inside Ed Hemphill's house. A pile of facial hairs is scattered around an electric razor, which is still plugged into the wall. The room is bathed in a pink hue created by the sunlight passing through the tattered, rose-colored blinds that hang in the windows.

An old pair of Nike running shoes sits in a corner, the initials "G.P." printed on their heels. Besides a mound of clothes and a cheap, all-in-one hi-fi, Calloway left few possessions behind.

Since Calloway died, Hemphill says he has avoided the room. In fact, he only comes home to sleep when he finishes his shift as a supervisor at Lone Star Park, the Grand Prairie racing facility that Hemphill hopes will create job opportunities for his neighbors when it is completed.

"I haven't sat in this living room for a long time. I guess I've been depressed," Hemphill says. "I miss him."

Hemphill recalls that Calloway, not one to watch much television, spent his time here reading his Bible or listening to the radio. Calloway would often make dinner; an avid cook, his specialty was red beans and rice.

"Depending on the weather, he would stay here two weeks out of the month. Then he would go back to the streets," Hemphill says. "He liked to lay down and look at the sky. He liked to look at the moon. He was just a free spirit."

When Calloway's body was taken away, his Dickies baseball cap was left behind. His dominoes buddies hung it from a battered chain link fence behind the table. "That's Joe's hat," the men say. Its crooked bill sways in the chilly wind tearing down Sherman Street.

Shortly after Calloway's ambulance turned off Sherman Street, Nose retreated to the picnic tables at Nance James Park.

"She went and got all his clothes and drug them out and laid on 'em," one of his buddies says. "Could nobody get her up.

Show Pages
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Dallas Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...