Parker Announces New HPD Oversight Reforms That Will Be Very, Very Different from Countless Past HPD Oversight Reforms

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HPD: This time they'll get it right. Right?
There's nothing like a bunch of grown men getting caught on tape stomping the hell out of a defenseless teenager to get the ol' government gears grindin'.

Responding to the political shitstorm stirred up by the Chad Holley video, Mayor Annise Parker this afternoon announced what her office calls a "sweeping package of new initiatives aimed at restoring public trust in the Houston Police Department."

The package includes a new Independent Police Oversight Board, which will replace the Citizens' Review Committee, which was apparently something that existed. Its 20 members, appointed by the mayor, "will have unfettered access to all records and police department data and the full cooperation of HPD. It will review all internal affairs investigations involving allegations of excessive force or the discharge of firearms and other major incidents." (Which makes us wonder -- was the Citizens' Review Committee's access somehow fettered? And if so, who was responsible for the fettering? Will this person or these persons be held accountable?)

Additionally, the Police Advisory Committee has been redubbed the Public Safety Advisory Committee, and will, brace yourself, "hold monthly meetings in various locations throughout the city to obtain citizen input, meet quarterly with the police and fire chiefs and the local Office of Homeland Security to discuss issues affecting public safety and periodically meet with City Council's public safety committee." (We're not sure why the Council's public safety committee wasn't renamed while they were at it, nor are we sure if any of these committees are Blue Ribbon Committees. We hope to God they are, because Houstonians deserve nothing less.)

But that's not all: The city's Office of Inspector General will "serve as confidential ombudsmen to assist citizens in [the] filing of complaints of misconduct against police officers."

Flanked by Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland, State Senator Rodney Ellis and others, Parker said, "I know that the men and women in blue [in] the Houston Police Department by and large do an exemplary job. But in any large organization, there are those who cause problems, there are those who don't follow the rules, there are those who simply get lost." (And by "get lost," we assume she means "descend like a pack of hyenas upon a prone teenage suspect and repeatedly kick the individual without first inspecting the immediate area for surveillance devices.")

Parker said that as a mother of three, including a teenager, "I understand the desire of citizens to want to know their children are safe in the hands of the Houston Police Department."

McClelland called the incident an "excellent opportunity" to make positive changes in HPD and usher in "a new era of open[ness] and transparency" and "enhance" community relations -- which was one of his major goals upon taking the position last April.

We're encouraged by these steps to improve police-community relations and demand accountability from law enforcement officers, but we're sorta wondering why all of these committees and outside "experts" are necessary to make sure that the Houston Police Department doesn't sweep police brutality under the rug. Shouldn't a police department be expected to run a clean house on its own? Why does Houston need a "sweeping package of new initiatives" to ensure that citizens' civil rights aren't violated? The thing is, there wouldn't have even been a discussion about police brutality had this beating not taken place in direct view of a security camera at Uncle Bob's storage facility.

Just think: If those officers had just moved a few yards to the left before they whaled on a defenseless 15-year-old boy, everyone could've knocked off early on this gorgeous Friday.


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12 comments
Fuck America
Fuck America

Got to love the underlying tones of racism and blatant ignorance from some of these commenters. Good old America. No wonder every other country hates yours.

Blogwritr
Blogwritr

One of the best stories so far, Craig, in the Chad Holley aftermath. You have hit the nail on the head! As far as the Mayor's proposed changes, sounds like a case of re-gifting (with different wrapping paper). The new committees will have former judges and prosecutors. Where are the regular folks like us, the mailmain, the barber, who can really provide a non-biased focus. I am happy to see the lip service, yet saddened by the lip service. Until they can solve the "human" issues involved in all of this, which is really at the heart of the matter, the press conferences are nothing more than fluff. http://theaccuratethinker.blog...

Watcha Back
Watcha Back

The cops are there to maintain order and not necessarily law, just like elsewhere where the populace is rising up and their governments are striking them down.

Peter Rabbitt
Peter Rabbitt

I am disturbed by the behavior of today's HPD. I recently moved back into the city and tonight walking in my neighborhood was spotted, shouted at and had a HPD vehicle accelerated as it drove up on me and screeched to a halt as the HPD officer shined a patrol car light in my face. Because I stopped and didn't respond to his commands to “COME HERE!” he gruffly exited his vehicle and pushed me hands down against his car and screamed "I’M THE POLICE!" All the while I realized I was in my hometown, bothering no one but a black man in the wrong place and hoping this would end well. The officer searched my pockets and laid the contents on his hood and placed me in the back of his patrol car, he then searched my wallet and ran my license, after seeing I had no warrants let me go. I continued my walk and thought that never happened in the predominantly Anglo city I relocated from, where I walked two miles a night for exercise in an all white community well after 10 pm.

While other may trust the police, and I know it is a difficult job. My experience tonight reinforced the belief that the police are not my friend's and a 6 ft tall, college educated, employed, black professional, who has never been convicted of a crime, is not who they exist to "protect and serve". I am who they believe they must protect others from. So, in conclusion, I have never like, trusted or had faith that the local city police, sheriff's, constables, troopers or marshals are my friends, be they black, white, Asian or Hispanic have my best interest at heart, nor my personal safety. So, I won't say that the criminal justice system is selective, but it is. Nor, will I hope ill will to those members of law enforcement I mentioned, but I do. And, lastly I don't think the grief of a parent or love ones of an innocent or brutalized CITIZEN, should hurt more than the families of fallen officers. While they do serve, they're lives are no more precious than the lives of those they have taken or the lack of dignity law enforcement officers show some of those they serve. While necessary, I see the HPD as SCUM, DESERVING NEITHER MY ADMIRATION OR RESPECT.

Peter Rabbitt
Peter Rabbitt

I am disturbed by the behavior of today's HPD. I recently moved back into the city and tonight walking in my neighborhood was spotted, shouted at and driving up on by a HPD officer shining a patrol car light in my face. When I didn't respond to his commands to stop and approach his vehicle he pushed me up against the car, screamed "he was THE POLICE!" All the while I realized I was in my hometown, bothering no one but a black man in the wrong place. The officer searched my pocket laid the contentents on his hood and placed me in the back of his patrol car, he then searched my wllet and ran my license, after seeing I had no warrants let me go. I continued my walk and thought that never happened in the prodominantly anglo city I relocated from, where I walked two miles a night for execise in a all white community well after 10 pm.

While other may trust the police, and I know it is a difficult job. My experience tonight reinforced the belief that the police are not my friend's and a 6 ft tall, college educated, employed, black professional, whho has never beenconvicted of a crime, is not who they exist to "protect and serve". I who they believe they must protect other from. So, in conclusion, I have never like, trusted or had faith that the local city police, sheriff's, constables, troopers or marshalls are my friends, be they black, white, asian or hispanic. So, I won't say that the criminal justice system is selective, but it is. Nor, will I hope ill will to those members of law enforcement, but I do. And, lastly I don't think the grief of a parent or love ones of an innocent or brutalized CITIZEN, should hurt more at the victimization of their family, like the families of fallen officers. WHile they do serve, they're live we no more precious than the lives of those they have taken or the lack of dignity law enforcement officers show some of those they serve. While necessary, I see the HPD as SCUM, DESERVING NEITHER MY ADMIRATION OR RESPECT.

Gary the Lone Ranger
Gary the Lone Ranger

Lets see how they respond to certaincalls, maybe you get what you start. That little punk better glad that I wasn't one of those officers he would have got worse than that. What about the rights of the people he was stealing from? Some types of people choose to steal rather than work!!!!

Ya Don't Say
Ya Don't Say

I sure hope Quannell is on this board SJL too, what kind of a board would it be with out Chad Holleys momma as well. She knows how to raise a child with the wonderful guidance she has given her thug yer son that's right gotta be politcally correct.

Wyatt
Wyatt

"So, I won't say that the criminal justice system is selective, but it is."

I'm not saying this is a weird statement, but this is a weird statement.

Wyatt
Wyatt

Those rights will be addressed in a court of law. It is not the cops' job to exact punishment. You retarded, or just looking for a reaction?

Craig Malisow
Craig Malisow

Hi Gary the Lone Ranger,

I just wanted to point out a few things about how the criminal justice system in the United States works, because it's actually a pretty dang awesome thing when followed correctly.

As you may have heard from watching TV shows, a person is "innocent until proven guilty." This is also referred to as "presumption of innocence," and, while perhaps mostly symbolic, serves as a reminder to all elements involved that the Bill of Rights provides for what we call "due process." The Bill of Rights is an awesome thing -- you should read it sometime, as it further ensures the protection of individual liberty, which is a cornerstone belief upon which this country was founded.

In other countries without due process, you or I or Joe Shmo can be plucked from our homes or places of employment or the ballpark, beaten silly with batons, thrown in a cell, and be held indefinitely without being told why we are being held, the exact nature of the charges, or the exact nature of the evidence against us.

Without the Fifth and other amendments, we could be held for years before we're given a trial -- if said system even provides for a trial -- and we may not be given the right to counsel.

These amendments bar law enforcement from torturing people (or their loved ones) to elicit a confession, and they bar any other introduction of evidence obtained illegally. Like, right now, as I'm typing this, no law enforcement can enter my home -- or the home of the Lone Ranger family -- and turn the place upside down without a warrant, signed by a judge. (Of course, as with many things, there's an "exigent circumstance" exception to this, but we'll save that for another time). I don't know about you, but I feel pretty content with the fact that my property and my dog are not under constant threat of federales breaking down my door and knocking holes in my walls. I'm sure my landlord is pretty happy about that as well.

Now, how does this apply to that "punk" Chad Holley? See, Chad Holley has the same rights that you and I and Joe Shmo have. That's the awesome thing about this justice system -- it doesn't (or is at least not supposed to) favor one group of people over another. Now, in Holley's case, it looks like a group of officers certainly believed he was guilty of something. So therefore, they may have found it appropriate to beat him. The thing is, I don't want to be strolling down the avenue one day without a care in the world, minding my own business, and suddenly be pounced upon and beaten by a group of police who believe I am guilty of something. And frankly, I don't really have to worry about that occurring, because I live in a wonderful country with a wonderful justice system.

Is Chad Holley guilty? I have no idea. Outside of a courtroom, though, you and I and Joe Shmo can speculate and judge all we want, because it's not legally binding. But the thing is, Chad Holley, you, me, and Joe Shmo are all protected by due process. The "people he was stealing from" have a right to due process, and every other protection under the law, as well. Those are their "rights." Their rights aren't different from my rights. Or Chad Holley's rights. Or any other American's rights. That's why it's such a fantastic legal system, when applied and followed correctly. We can't get the shit kicked out of us just because we might look like a suspect, or just because a police officer thinks we're guilty of something.

I hope you don't think I'm being patronizing or condescending in any manner. I just thought your well-reasoned, articulate, and insightful comment deserved a legitimate response.

Thanks,Craig Malisow

H_e_x
H_e_x

Everyone's a tough guy on the internet.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Go away troll.

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