Thursday, June 24, 2010

Demoralizing tales from Houston law enforcement

Coupla stories out of Houston PD bear watching:

First, four officers have been indicted, seven fired, and 12 disciplined after the brutal beating of a handcuffed suspect who'd run from police was captured on videotape.

Second, Moises Mendoza and James Pinkerton continue their excellent reporting on Houston PD's fingerprint lab, describing the results they got back from a recent public information act request. Bottom line: "In the last 10 years, communication broke down between supervisors and ground-level employees. Meanwhile, command staff failed to give employees adequate training, didn't keep pace with technological advances and allowed the lab to physically deteriorate, according to audit reports."

And over at the Harris County Sheriff's Office, a captain demoted by Sheriff Adrian Garcia after he admitted drinking before an off-duty car crash was reinstated to his old job and was awarded back pay by a three-member civil service commission. Look for the same thing to happen with at least some of the fired and/or disciplined officers from HPD in the first incident described above. I say that not because I think the allegations against the officers are unjust but because it's incredibly difficult for law enforcement administrators operating under Texas civil service statutes (which for various historical reasons apply to HCSO but no other Texas Sheriff) to effectively discipline bad cops.

7 comments:

R. Shackleford said...

This is why people don't have faith in le. What a slew of despicable occurrences, and people. Le needs MORE accountability, not less. A revamping of the way cops are disciplined is sorely needed, I think once you screw up as badly as these cops did, you ought NEVER to be allowed a badge again. As for the command staff of the fingerprint lab, they ought to face jail time. No telling how many criminals went free, and how many innocents were falsely imprisoned, as a result of their crappy performance.

Anonymous said...

how come nobody mentions the kid was running from the cops? why was he running? could it be he was doing something illegal? like burglary? nah...he's just an innocent young boy out for a stroll.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"how come nobody mentions the kid was running from the cops? "

Perhaps you missed the line in the post describing him as a "suspect who'd run from police."

And it doesn't matter why he was running, it doesn't justify beating him when they catch him.

Matthew said...

True. It is not the place of a police officer to punish a suspect.

That is the job of the courts...

There is no justification for the beating of a suspect. I suspect that who did what will be sorted out in separate trials and appeal hearings.

BB said...

Scott,

I have countless stories of suspects being physically abused by peace officers in Harris county subsequent to being apprehended after a foot chase. It is part of the culture. If an officer injures themselves while utilizing such old order tactics, they will then charge the suspect with assault on a peace officer. They call it noble cause corruption. They justify such actions as necessary because someone has to teach criminals not to run from the police. It is assumed that a good beating will prevent a suspect from running in the future. happens all the time.

BB

Anonymous said...

BB is exactly correct. My LE friends call it "stick time", and when a perp makes the cops chase after him, whenever he is caught, he will certainly get a little extra stick time.

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