Police

Houston Police Chief: Citizen Recordings of Violent, Thuggish Police Officers May Lead to Violent, Thuggish Behavior Against Police Officers

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From the Houston Chronicle:

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland went on the defensive Thursday during a meeting with local journalists, saying officers have made recent traffic stops in which residents leave their vehicles to take pictures or shoot video — encounters he says could endanger officers and that have increased following the release of the Chad Holley beating footage.

"Officers are telling me that they're being provoked," the chief said. "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. And I've asked them to remain calm and treat people with respect and dignity."

McClelland said he is concerned that an intensifying anti-police sentiment in the community could increase negative interactions between Houston Police Department officers and residents.

"This rhetoric can give someone a free pass to try to assault a police officer or kill a police officer, and I'm not going to allow that," he said. "My officers should be able to go out here and work in the neighborhoods and keep this city safe without fear and without hesitation."

It's a bit rich for McClelland to blame citizens with cameras and critics of police here. All of this "rhetoric" he's worried about is a reaction to two high-profile incidents in which McClelland's officers were captured on video beating the living hell out of someone. Here's the first video, in which seven officers beat 15-year-old burglary suspect Chad Holley. Seven officers were initially fired, but two are now back on the force. Four have been charged with a misdemeanor. Houston public officials actually went to federal court to prevent the video from being released to the public (and won). When a leaked copy of the video got out anyway, Houston Mayor Annise Parker called for the leaker to be arrested. Because that's what she should be concerned about.

The second video shows a police officer take 27-year-old Henry Madge to the ground and strike him after Madge had been handcuffed in a hospital waiting room. Madge at the hospital for his son's appendectomy, and apparently got into an altercation over the volume on waiting room television.

I've reported here on how rarely police officers face significant discipline from their own departments. But as a local news station reported in the wake of the Holley incident, even on the rare occasions that they do, they're often overturned or the punishments are watered down by arbitration agreements negotiated by police unions.

From all of this, McClelland and Parker apparently believe that the thing we should be most concerned about is that citizens in Houston have the temerity to record on-duty cops. And to criticize them when those videos depict excessive force.

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  1. Rumor has it that in Seattle?

    They’re not pretending anymore!

    http://slog.thestranger.com/sl…..ce-declare

    1. Was the last picture in that series a photo of The Jacket? Dude has really aged, hasn’t he? 🙂

    2. All cover jokes aside, there was a protest here against the police just last week. And the DOJ is investigating the SPD (finally). Those fuckers shoot or beat someone every other week. We’ll see what happens, but the attention is on them at this point.

      1. I heard something about the cops in Seattle.

        Like everything else, street art went stale when it became popular and fashionable–but seeing people read this stuff and do a double take like that? That’s some awesome street art!

        It made me think of Balko immediately. All Balko can do is print the truth. If we’re so jaded, we just shrug it off when we read this stuff?

        I don’t know what the solution is to that. But I hope Balko never shuts up about it–ever.

        1. The cops in Seattle are a mixed bag. There have been times when they show proper restraint, others where they show too much restraint, and yet others where they kill people on the street because they’re holding a vaguely shiny object which could be construed as a weapon.

          1. It’s like a kid who has parents who mete out inconsistent discipline. He has no idea what to expect. I’m now scared that if I walk out onto my front sidewalk with a machete or tool I’m using to clear brush or work on my house while my headphones are in, I’ll be shot four times in the side as I turn around to find out what all the shouting is behind me.

  2. Seven officers were initially fired, but two are now back on the force.

    The system works!

    1. “…the punishments are watered down by arbitration agreements negotiated by police unions.”
      Ironic example of “liberals” support of public unions doing a good job of f*cking the poor.

      Also, the problem with the police chief quote “And I’ve asked them to remain calm and treat people with respect and dignity.”
      is that there was no video of him immediately afterwards winking, nudging the guy next to him, and than falling to the ground laughing…

  3. While I feel for the victims, I’m glad these videos are coming to light right before we begin the hard fight against police union pensions.

    1. While I feel for the victims, I’m glad these videos are coming to light right before we begin the hard fight against police union pensions.

      Our plan is coming together.

  4. Houston Mayor Annise Parker called for the leaker to be arrested. Because that’s what she should be concerned about.

    Fucking respect- how does it work?

    1. Parker: “The City of Houston has fully supported the district attorney’s desire to keep this video from being released prior to trial because we did not want to do anything that could jeopardize the prosecution of the police officers involved. We vigorously sought termination of the officers and continue to fight to keep them from ever again working at the Houston Police Department.

      Whoever provided the video to Channel 13 is in violation of a federal court order and should be prosecuted. It is unfortunate and irresponsible that Channel 13 has chosen to air the material at this time.”

      1. Perhaps down in Texas they are real sticklers for the law, they want to make sure everyone gets a fair trial, and they want there to be no basis for appealing or overturning a tough punishment…and it is obvious that it wasn’t done to delay and impede any investigation till people forget and the whole thing blows over……
        and oh yeah, I got a 12 inch c*ck that hot chicks wrestle naked for.

        1. I think you mean “12 inch Koch

        2. It’s a 12 inch K*ch.

        3. In Texas, they are sticklers for people doing what they are told. My response to this article was, “Well, duh, it’s Texas!”

      2. How is that a valid court order anyway? How does it get past the first amendment?

      3. That’s strange, considering police release video of suspects committing crimes to the media all the time.

  5. “community could increase negative interactions between Houston Police Department officers and residents”

    Heh, I love me some stupid Cop Talk. Idiots trying desperately to sound smart.

    1. Yep. This, too: “This rhetoric can give someone a free pass to try to assault a police officer or kill a police officer, and I’m not going to allow that,” he said.

      “A free pass”?

    2. “community could increase negative interactions between Houston Police Department officers and residents”

      Sounds like a veiled threat to me.

  6. This is why cops shouldn’t be able to unionize.

  7. “This rhetoric can give someone a free pass to try to assault a police officer or kill a police officer, and I’m not going to allow that,” he said. “My officers should be able to go out here and work in the neighborhoods and keep this city safe without fear and without hesitation.”

    Fuck you, pigs. You deserve to be afraid.

    1. I’m beginning to realize that people really have no idea what the word “rhetoric” means.

  8. Again – cops who break the law on duty rarely get punished and are usually still allowed to retire with public pensions. Instead they’re going after the messenger and the medium by hyping up a nonsensical “WAR ON COPS”.

    Will the same lefties who rant about police brutality tack their sails and support the unions when they start being roped in like the teachers in WI? What will the protester line be – ‘Greedy plutocrats want to rob our middle-class hard-working police union thugs’?

    1. Yes. Bet on it.

    2. Probably. The good news is, we now have an incredibly large supply of hilarious “Governor Walker didn’t break the cop unions because he’s a fascist” quotes that we can throw in their faces.

  9. If a cop is beating someone and there is no one to record the event, does the victim make a sound?

    /Bishop Berkeley mode

    1. gurgle….

  10. Hey chief McClelland…

    if you really want to end people randomly jumping out of their cars to record traffic stops, there’s a simple way to do it: record them yourself.

    Yep, that’s it. Put a camera and mike on all your officers, and record all police interactions yourself. Oh yeah, and release them. That way the public won’t feel the need to do it themselves.

    But the releasing part is important, OK? Any questions? Let me know if there is something here you don’t understand.

    1. The only problem is that there are likely to be “technical difficulties” whenever the camera records something, er, negative.

  11. FYI… a Houston cop was shot this morning serving a warrant. Maybe someone got a video of that too.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/stor…..43931.html

    1. Maybe the shooter was just “in fear for his life.”

    2. Gotta love that headline:
      HPD officer shot in sweep to punish Mexico’s drug cartels

      Funny, I always thought the job of the police was to bring those accused of crimes before the courts for possible punishment, not mete it out themselves.

      1. Serving a warrant is meting out violence?

        1. Punishment, I mean.

          1. ‘Raids that are continuing today in Houston and across the nation are a clear payback for the attack on Zapata and a fellow agent injured when they were ambushed by gunmen believed to work for a Mexican cartel known as the Zetas.
            “We are not just going after Zetas, we are going after all cartels,” Pike said. “We want all the cartels to realize this. It is the school-yard mentality ? a bully situation,” he continued. “The cartels have pushed ? if you don’t push back, you become the victim. U.S. law enforcement is not going to become the victim.”‘

            Really? Just serving a warrant?

            When people fuck with citizens, they get investigated and arrested.

            When people fuck with cops, they get dealt with, and they can consider themselves lucky if they actually make it to trial.

      2. … and funny, weren’t the cops trying to bring the accused before the courts? Do you not know what it means to be served a warrant?

        1. Yeah, he knows. The headline writer doesn’t.

          1. Ah, the reporter was just getting ahead of themselves. There will be punishments coming.

        2. If you can point out to me where someone put a gun to that cop’s head and forced that choice of profession (i.e. the draft), I’ll be angry.

          Otherwise, you knew what you were signing up for. The shooter should be punished. The cop’s family should get all due benefits. This does NOT excuse police brutality, which your bringing it up in this thread would seem to indicate was your intention.

    3. The surprising part of that story for me was that they did the raid in the daylight, 8:30 A.M. And that they got the right house. Maybe. We’ll see if there’s a press conference trumpeting the amounts seized, or if this will softly fade away.

      Also, how long did they know all these different drug houses were being run by the cartel(s) and why wait until now to raid them, if drugs are such a scourge to public health? Oh, that’s right, a U.S. cop in Mexico got shot… That changes everything. (Insert std. libertarian disclaimer that the police shouldn’t be raiding anyone for drugs at all)

      Finally, yet another story in the cops vs little people file. http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/st…..id=7971469 Cop goes drinking with buddies in nice part of town. Last call, fight ensues between one buddy and four other people. Cop shoots two, one fatally, after allegedly identifying himself as a LEO to the combatants. No other weapons found.

      While the story does quote the shooter’s attorney that the officer had been drinking, and off-duty police, unlike practically everyone else in Texas, can carry concealed firearms in a bar (51% of sales from alcohol), it doesn’t mention that he got to wait until 6 hours or so after the shooting to provide the blood or urine. (had the cite this morning, trying to find it now.)

      So, we really have no idea what his level of intoxication was. And we never will. I’m not a cop hater; I’m just tired of reading about the special pleading and the special treatment they get. If I defend myself or others with a pistol outside a bar, I’m having a very dim eye turned toward me. My excuses and justifications definitely aren’t going to be believed, absent major corroboration. I’m going to jail. Especially if I’m drunk. And I may end up staying there for a very long time. What’s going to happen to him? Frankly, I’ll be surprised if he’s even indicted, and that’s just sad.

      1. Ugh.

        The six hours before the test thing is pretty bad considering in Austin there are “no-refusal” days, like New Year’s Eve, where you cannot refuse having your blood drawn.

  12. “Officers are telling me that they’re being provoked,” the chief said. “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. And I’ve asked them to remain calm and treat people with respect and dignity.”

    -Filming and observing is not provocation by any measure chief. Unless your officers are overbearing brutish thugs.

    -You had to ask your officers to “remain calm” and to “treat people with respect and dignity?” If you have to ask or order this you need new officers or the public needs to start seeing to it these officers that need “asking” are no longer officers.

    The US v. Them has gone way too far. In the last few years even emergency crew members have adopted the retarded blue line mentality while being paid with my hard earned money.

    1. Yeah the whole “provocation” thing is really grating, as in the “interfering.”

  13. people are jumping out with cell phone cameras scanning their badge numbers and their nametags.

    Anti-police terrorism!

  14. I almost forgot.

    These officers aren’t trained to handle the strict public scrutiny of being filmed on the job. They have our best interest in mind and there really is no need to film them. The “sausage making” of police work can be ugly. *Latin legal phrase goes here*

  15. because we did not want to do anything that could jeopardize the reluctant and intentionally half-assed prosecution of the police officers involved.

  16. Oh, those poor, heavily armed and quickly reinforced peace officers!

  17. From the article about the cop who caught a bullet:

    HPD spokesman Kese Smith said HPD officers executed a narcotics warrant at 207 Buckboard about 8:25 a.m. today, knocking on the door and identifying themselves as police in English and Spanish. When no one answered, he said, the officers ? dressed in SWAT gear ? entered the house.

    Suuure they did. SWATties are all about the positive bilingual interactions, especially when they’re all ninjaed up.

    How stupid do they think we are?

    1. When you say “they”, so you mean the police or the newspaper “reporter” who didn’t investigate the truth of the police spokesperson?

      1. It’s Houston media. For the most part, whether local news, national news, or sports, they’re usually an uncredited P.R. outlet for the powers that be. Take press release, re-write it minimally, and publish it. Frustrating.

        There are a few exceptions. But it seems that many of them write like they’re afraid of alienating any potential source. It’s probably that way most places.

    2. Oh, I’m sure they knocked and identified themselves. What is not reported is the amount of time that elapsed between that time and when “no one answered” and when they “entered the house.”

      Likely something on the order of 5 seconds.

      < knock knock >
      “Police! Search warrant! Open up! Abra la puerta!”
      (one one thousand, two one thousand)
      BANG! CRASH! “GET ON THE FLOOR!! GET ON THE FLOOR!!”

      1. Don’t you always sit in your entryway so you can immediately open the door if someone knocks?

  18. He hit me back first!

  19. This is probably a rhetorical question, but how come the officers are not being prosecuted for aggravated assault under color of law? Union rules can’t prevent that.

    1. TULPA IS TRYING TO DESTROY THE MIDDLE CLASS!!!1!@!!! HITLER!$!!! KOCHES!!!11

  20. If the police show no respect for citizens, citizens show no respect for the police. Check out this link: http://www.relentlessdefense.c…..forcement/

  21. Surprise surprise surprise, people don’t RESPECT thugs. If you want your officers to have the respect of the people (who pay for them!) then they can’t act like thugs.

    Of course, cops have often acted like thugs throughout history. Normally its just against those who the state doesn’t like, those who have no real power. But now almost EVERYONE has a video camera on their person, so even if the cops beat a person in the ghetto, the neighborhood victimized by the thugs has the POWER to tell the world.

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