For Immediate Release
Aug. 21, 2020
Contact: Angelica Luna-Kaufman
Harris County Democratic Party Chair Condemns Constable’s ‘Racist Act’
Says ‘Culture of Racism’ Cannot Be Tolerated
HOUSTON – The Harris County Democratic Party is condemning the past behavior of Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap after a photograph was discovered of him wearing blackface. The image shows Heap dressed in costume with his face painted black.
“This is an offensive, racist act that should have consequences,” said Lillie Schechter, HCDP Chair.
“In addition to being inappropriate, Constable Heap’s behavior erodes public trust,” she said. “Citizens must have confidence that their elected officials act with integrity.”
Calling the outfit “a bad costume choice,” Heap said in a statement that the photo was from a “70s-themed TV show party” 25 years ago.
The photo of Heap was found by reporters investigating a story about Precinct 3 Constable Herschel Smith being pulled over by Precinct 5 deputies from Heap’s office.
“Constable Heap did more than make a ‘bad costume choice,” said Schechter. “His behavior was racist and dehumanizing. He should not be in office.”
Schechter expressed concern about “an increase in racist acts and rhetoric” – both locally and nationwide – citing another Harris County Republican who was recently called out for racist behavior.
Last month, Harris County GOP Chair Keith Nielsen, took office after receiving backlash from a Facebook post that depicted a Martin Luther King Jr. quote next to a banana. Although Nielsen first said he would decline to take office, he later changed his mind.
“How is this even possible? Who would find this acceptable?” Schechter asked. “Racism should not be tolerated in any form.”
“Constable Heap and GOP Chair Nielsen are examples of a culture of racism and intolerance that President Trump continues to promote. Republicans are enabling this,” she said. “In November, we must fight back with our voices and our votes. Check the box next to the Democrat in every election on the ballot – from start to finish. It’s time to vote out racism.”
“I think Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden said it best in his acceptance speech last night, ‘Who we are as a nation. What we stand for. And, most importantly, who we want to be. That's all on the ballot,’” Schechter said.