By Alex Wukman
This shit is getting out of hand. HPD recently released an internal study that found that more African Americans are pulled over than any other racial group. In all black people represent les than a quarter of the city’s population but represent 33 percent of the nearly 500,000 people stopped by HPD last year, where as white people were only 30 percent of the people stopped and Hispanics, the city’s largest ethnic groupat 44 percent, were pulled over 32 percent of the time.
A one percentage point variation may not seem like much; however it translates to a 5,000 person difference which is roughly the population of the Houston suburb of Meadows Place. The release of this data caps the end of HPD Chief Charles McClelland’s first year in office. McClelland likes to point that in his first year in office the city saw decreases in violent crime across all areas. He doesn’t mentionthe one area where the city saw an uptick, excessive force.
As we previously pointed out since McClelland took over HPD has been best by a series of high profile problems, from the Chad Holley beating to questionable shootings to a freaking tear gas incident at the rodeo. This has only led to people to wonder what exactly is going on with the city’s police force. And McClelland’s statements aren’t actually helping.
In an interview that ran in the Chronicle on Mother’s Day McClelland said that the Holley beating video was essentially bad PR for HPD. “It did hurt the reputation [of the department] and it was an isolated incident,” said McClelland. Sadly the isolated incident part may correctly apply to the beating part, but it in no way describes HPD’s attitudes towards citizens. A 2010 study showed that under McClelland and his predecessor Chief Harold Hurtt, HPD saw increases in officer involved shootings. In 2010 HPD officers were involved in over half of the 35 law enforcement shootings that occurred in the Houston area.
Then there is the amount of times HPD used tasers on citizens; in the seven years since HPD adopted tasers as standard euipment officers have used them over 2,500 times. It gets a little hard to accept McClelland’s statements that the beating of Chad Holley was an isolated incident