Occupy Houston: Unnamed HPD Cops Reprimanded for Blacking Out Their Badge Numbers

Categories: Spaced City

Hpd121511.JPG
A verbal reprimand
Police officers who intentionally concealed their identity before arresting Occupy the Port protesters Monday hardly got a spanking for deceiving the public, according to their unamused daddy, Chief of Police Charles McClelland.

He admitted that several of his officers used tape to cover their names on their uniforms as well as their badge numbers during the event. They have since been verbally reprimanded for their "misguided actions," he said.

"We are not ashamed of our badge numbers or our names," he said, speaking on behalf of the whole force.

As for the impact this had on the relationship between HPD and the Occupy Houston movement, McClelland said it didn't really matter.

"We are still a professional institution with professional employees," he said.

But what kind of professional law enforcement officials knowingly prevent the presumably innocent defendants they arrest from recording the identities of their captors?

We agree with McClelland that the HPD officers are unashamed of their actions, otherwise they would have come forward by now and introduced themselves to the public they serve. But even when faced with a crowd of people screaming "SHAME" at them, as protesters did on Monday once they saw what was going on, the officers were silent.

Such behavior sent a mixed message to Houstonians, who were watching the charade unfold on the Monday night news and who haven't been able to shake the uneasy feeling that the police we pay for don't think it's necessary for us to know who they are.

It was because of that creepy feeling that neither party's take-home message made much of an impact on the public that day.

Occupy the Port's original purpose was to "disrupt and blockade" coastal industries, which protestors succeeded in doing by lying on the exit ramp of Loop 610 for several hours. In addition to annoying the 1 percent, they kept some of their fellow 99-percenters from clocking in at work on Monday.

The message that the police wanted to drive home was they had successfully cleared the blockade and protected the public from the Occupiers, some of whom were charged with "use of criminal weapons." Those weapons amounted to chains and PVC pipes that literally bonded eight of the 20 defendants together by the arms. (Those felony charges were dropped the same day as the press conference.)

This charade is hardly new or even particularly educational anymore, despite being presented alongside the best visual graphics our local news stations have to offer. We've all seen the extremes that both parties can reach on behalf of the latest episode of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which comes on TV as regularly as a sitcom.

Instead, it was the disrespectful actions of some officers, who decided they were exempt from taking personal responsibility for their actions by hiding their identities from the police lineup, that made the loudest statement.

It's acceptable for protesters to don Guy Fawkes masks for the sake of sending a political message about one for all and all for one. But it is highly unethical for members of the arresting party to hide their own identity just because they don't feel beholden to the 100 percent of us who pay their salary.

By not coming forward to identify themselves and apologize for their unprofessional and unethical behavior, those officers are essentially saying that they don't care whom exactly we scream "SHAME ON YOU" at, as long as they are a member of HPD.


Tags:

HPD, OWS
My Voice Nation Help
34 comments
Bear Naff
Bear Naff

The response to this is simple.  If you see a person in a police uniform wearing a covered badge, you detain them for the real cops.

Smith_90125
Smith_90125

A pig hides his badge number for the same reason a terrorist covers his face: so he can't be identified while he's causing harm to others.

CM
CM

I would also like to add that when asked if they were American citizens, the police remained silent. Now THAT is scary my friends!

CM
CM

I was there protesting...and I have to say that since I got involved in The Movement back in October I have been to numerous protests and rallies...from Texas to D.C. and this was the first time I saw police officers with duct tape over their names and refusing to identify themselves. The whole thing was disturbing on so many levels....the overwhelming police presence, Homeland Security, mounted police. One of my friends was trampled that day by a horse. The red tents were very scary....and I'm still trying to figure out what was in those canisters...I live in Dallas and am part of OD. We have had a few skirmishes with the DPD but have never encountered anything like this.....YET! My heart goes out to those brave souls who "took one for the team" that day....

Jen
Jen

I normally like your articles but I find this one to be lacking facts. I wish your fact checker had done a better job. And don't forget the big red tent used to hide HPD and HFD's activities. Occupy Houston did not stop people from clocking in to work. If they weren't at work by 1 pm, I believe they were already late. It was the reason a later time was chosen.

bibulb
bibulb

"It's acceptable for protesters to don Guy Fawkes masks for the sake of sending a political message about one for all and all for one."

Especially since the police can remove those masks if they desire. They wouldn't have the option to remove the tape from the officers' badges.

(Actually, is obscuring your badge so that you can't be identified even legal? I know, I know - "HPD breaking the law? Unpossible!")

anonymous
anonymous

Isn't thats what we ended up killing hundreds of thousands of people in multiple wars, to protect FREEDOM? Well they must have died in vain because there is no freedom of speech in this country these days. The minute you stand up to speak out against corruption in this country and government you are confronted with police brutality. Wether it be getting trampled by horses like in Houston or getting weapons like rubber bullets, flash grenades, tear gas and batons used against you. If you don't comply you are beat into submission. Regardless of wether anybody agrees with what the are protesting they have a right to do so.

anonymous
anonymous

The people who talk about sending protesters to the gas chamber are no better than nazis themselves. Isn't that what these wars were started to protect FREEDOM!!!. What ever happened to the right to free speech and the right to speak out against a corrupt government. The more I read your comments the more I feel like this country HAS become nazi Germany all over again people are just too brainwashed to see it.

xxx
xxx

No matter who they are arresting, it is unacceptable for the officers to blatantly disregard the law and prevent people from identifying them during an arrest. Totally un-American, this is not the Middle East, leave the secret policing there.

furioso ateo
furioso ateo

Pretty sure however you feel about Occupy Wallstreet/Houston, it's pretty much bullshit for a cop to cover their name and badge number.

Pacc927
Pacc927

Bullshit!! HPD Just wants to abuse their authority & mistreat the people without any repercussion.. Even if their idenity is exposed they will just get suspended with paid time off!

EC
EC

Technically the officers pay for their salaries too since they pay taxes and not all the 100% of the public pay their taxes. Purty biased reporting there

GorgeousMike
GorgeousMike

They have good reason to hide their identities. Once this movement becomes a political party, those who have tried to kill it will be punished. We have concentration camps already built to hold them. And we'll be outfitting these camps with gas soon. You can hide all you want, but sooner or later you'll get that knock on your door. Then, you and your immediate family will be taking a ride to a concentration camp for reeducation. And if reeducation proves to be unattainable, then you'll get the gas chambers.

Anti
Anti

I do not blame HPD for covering their names. The occutoddlers were not just wearing masks. They had bandanas over their faces too. This article is obviously biased a bit....

Al
Al

Wow. Over react much? And you want a real charade? Go visit the Occupy Houston encampment.

GalloDiablo
GalloDiablo

Who cares? The Occupy losers got more respect than they deserve. Good for HPD.

Writer for a Free Fishwrap
Writer for a Free Fishwrap

What harm did they cause to anyone? OOPS. You probably should've thought before you hit enter, huh?

furioso ateo
furioso ateo

Lol, I always imagine this to the tune of "You ARE the weakest link." And then I think that's kind of sad.

Wyatt
Wyatt

But Fishwrap, don't you think it's screwed up for uniform/patrol/non-undercover cops to conceal their identity, no matter who they're arresting?

gjt25
gjt25

watch Glen Beck much GorgeousMike>

Craig Malisow
Craig Malisow

Can you please tell me where these concentration camps are located? And are the gas chambers already built? Because I'd like to expose this story. I've stood inside the gas chambers at Auschwitz, and have heard survivors talk of their experiences, so I can almost picture what you're talking about. And I, for one, want to be at the forefront of exposing this monstrosity. Please contact me immediately. 

Or was that merely hyperbole? Seriously, I can't tell. 

Wyatt
Wyatt

Did you really just say the OWS thing is going to lead to gas chambers and a Dead Kennedys "California Uber Alles"-style totalitarian regime? If this isn't the comment of the day I quit this blog

furioso ateo
furioso ateo

What? Wait, are the cops coming for us, or is it us coming for the cops?

Tronic
Tronic

bias? it's biased now to expect your police force to follow the law? This country is so fucked....

FeverDream
FeverDream

I lived in Houston for 3 years, and remember burning every belonging that smelled like the washburn tunnel after leaving that toxic dump. HPD has a long history of abuse well beyond treatment of the occupiers. If you honestly think that beating up protestors is somehow justified, you probably also believe that Obama wasn't born in the US, that Iraq was tied to 9/11, and most disturbingly.. that your personal idea of freedom is somehow protected by these badge wearing apes. Wake up.

Avalynn
Avalynn

Good for HPD? Are you nuts? Would it be acceptable for them to behave in such a way in any other situation?? OWS deserves a lot more respect than many in Houston are giving them. The Houston protesters have been well behaved up to this point....unlike the other places that make the news. There are real reasons that OWS is out there...Shutting down 610 is annoying, yes...but they're out there protesting for a legitimate reason...if the government wants this to stop...perhaps taking time to truly listen and work with the protesters might be an easier, less painful option. If Occupy truly got the respect it deserved, more people would be behind them..because they would know the message..but the media twists it up..plays it off like there isn't one..that these are anarchists or anticapitalists or hippies..and that everyone is out to cause trouble. The truth is, many of these people are from varying political, social, ideological, and economic backgrounds....but they have pushed their differences aside for a common idea - that the corruption that lies between our government, the too big to fail banks and some of our biggest corporations needs to end. I could go on and on about bailouts, insider trading, SEC cover ups, the fed secret bailouts, ending the  and now the NDAA - but I suspect you know that...so what is the problem? Are you one of those people who really believe the bogus demands?? 

Writer for a FreeFishwrap
Writer for a FreeFishwrap

They shouldn't have obstructed their badge numbers. I agree.

 They also shouldn't have let these selfish nuts block the road for more than 30 seconds before dragging them off of it.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...