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Home » Local and State, Uncategorized

Seriously HPD, WTF?

Submitted by Commandrea on March 17, 2011 – 5:19 pmOne Comment
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This man seems to have completely missed the point

By Alex Wukman

It seems that the old adage that when it rains it pours is true, for HPD at least. For the last month or so local news has been filled with stories that keep getting more and more depressing and raise serious questions about what is going on at the city’s largest law enforcement agency.

From the loss of a high profile suspect to a spate of questionable shootings the culture of the Houston Police Department has come under increasing scrutiny since the start of the year. The avalanche of bad press has led some in the community to lose faith with the department.  The ongoing suspicion the community has of HPD officers isn’t helped by a perceived lack of accountability within the department.

As to Chronicle reported “examiners for the city have overturned or reduced nearly 70 percent of punishments given to Houston police officers by HPD management over the last 17 years.” It’s not just the city’s 10 examiners who fail to punish HPD officers, even those who were videotaped beating Chad Holley. Harris County Grand Juries are notorious for “no-billing” cops.

In the last month two separate Grand Juries declined to indict HPD officers for the roles in shooting deaths of community members.  Sadly none of this is new to many Free Press readers, it does seem to be new to local media though. A review of 10 years worth of excessive force complaints Channel 13 undertook in February showed that out of 2,135 complaints filed with HPD’s Internal Affairs department since 2000, only 33 were sustained.

In a recent meeting with journalists HPD Chief Charles McClelland didn’t mention how concerned he was with the lack of discipline in his department or even the fact that it seems to many members of the community that a cop can beat the shit out of somone and get away with it. McClelland told reporters that he was worried about citizens videotaping officers.

I wish to God I was making this up, but McClelland actually said “Officers are telling me that they’re being provoked. Even when they try to write a simple traffic ticket, people are jumping out with cell phone cameras scanning their badge numbers and their nametags.”

Now of course McClelland went on to say that HPD does a damn fine job of policing itself, he even cited the fact that 70 percent of complaints filed with IA against officers come from other officers. He conveniently didn’t mention how many of those complaints are actually sustained or how many officers are actually punished because of those complaints.

Pastor D.Z. Coffield, the head of the Houston chapter of the NAACP, pointed out that “The deck is stacked against citizens. We don’t have anything to fight with except our cell phones and our cameras, because the truth of the matter is, whatever is said is not going to be substantiated.”

Here’s an idea, maybe it’s time for some civic minded activists to revive the Houston chapter of Cop Watch?

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