Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Houston Police Chief Gets It Backwards

Balko has the story of a ridiculous but predictable situation in Houston, where officers have been recorded recently as they engaged in flagrant misconduct by beating suspects, sometimes brutally. And as usual, the police chief there is concerned that allowing people to record such things might make his officers less safe.

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 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.

He’s absolutely right. If the chief is really concerned about people taking a negative view of the police, then stop allowing your officers to beat people with impunity. You have to see the video of this first incident. One officer literally runs the kid over with his car, then 7 other officers jump and start kicking and beating the kid as he lay helpless on the ground. Every single officer should not only be off the force, they should be charged with aggravated assault, at the very least.