Houston Mayor Parker And Police Chief McClelland Referring Possible Cases Of Houston Police Abuse To Federal Government For Investigation—This Is The Correct Course
The Houston Chronicle reports that the federal government is investigating 6 incidents of Houston Police shooting or otherwise allegedly abusing unarmed persons. The Chronicle reports that 3 of these matters were referred to the feds by Houston Police Chief Charles McClellend.
( Picture above is of Houston Mayor Annise Parker in front of an airplane.)
I have made posts on the blog about two of the incidents that the federal government is investigating.
Unarmed teen Chad Holley was beaten in 2010 by a number of Houston police officers.
Earlier in 2012, a double amputee in a wheelchair named Brian Claunch was shot and killed by Houston police.
There is no way the Chief is referring multiple cases of possible police abuse and misdeeds to the federal government without the approval in one form or another of Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
Mayor Parker and Chief McClelland should be commended for this course of action.
In the past the Mayor has addressed racism and sexism within the Houston Fire Department.
While our safety forces do many good and brave things, it is also so that some of them engage in wrong actions.
It is good for Houston that Mayor Parker has been willing to confront this fact.
Chad Holley Verdict By All-White Houston Jury A Source Of Concern For All Houstonians Concerned With Justice—An All-White Jury In The Most Diverse City In America?
(Above–A scene from the 2010 Chad Holley beating.)
I was not a juror in this case and I did not hear all the evidence.
I can say that it is frustrating that the jury was all-white in what is by some measures the most diverse city in America.
Given our national history, our local history here in Houston and Texas, and the fact of strong divisions of all kinds in America, it is a given that an innocent verdict in the case from an all-white jury would provoke a strong reaction.
Given the present day role of our so-called justice system as a new Jim Crow that incarcerates black men at an alarming rate, it is a given that an innocent verdict in this case from an all-white jury would provoke a strong reaction.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Republican Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos disagree with the verdict.
Some local black activists and local black ministers have reacted angrily to the verdict.
Just imagine if these leaders spoke up consistently on a broad range of issues of justice that impact all people and not just one group of people in Houston.
If they did, they would be listened to with greater respect when issues seen in a conventional and narrow sense as mostly impacting black folks were before the public.
At the same time, where are the voices of people of all kinds in voicing concerns on this matter?
If a broader cross-section of Houston white and Latino progressives and liberals would speak up with concerns about the verdict of an all-white jury in this trial, maybe this would help lay the groundwork for a more energetic and hopeful progressive coalition in our city.
The freedom of all people is connected.
Three former Houston Police officers are awaiting trial for their roles in the Chad Holley beating.
Black Justice Tuesday Coalition Protest For A More Accountable Houston Police Department—Remember Chad Holley
To mark the one year anniversary of the release of the Chad Holley police beating video tape, the Black Justice Tuesday Coalition will be holding a protest from noon until 3 PM at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse located at 1201 Franklin Street in Downtown Houston.
( Above–A scene from the Chad Holley tape.)
Here are details of this protest from the Black Justice Tuesday Coalition—
Black Justice Tuesday Coalition. National Black United Front and New Black Panther Party One Year Police Brutality Vigil. Black Justice Tuesday Coalition started its journey on February 8, 2011 after the release of the Chad Holley tape with a protest on the steps of City Hall. Please understand though that The Coalition is not subjectively organized solely for Chad Holley but against any and all police brutality. Chad Holley was just one incident of how “the Brotherhood of Paternal Order” operate in communities of Black and poor communities. This fight is for those who don’t have tapes and those that have not received justice: Bobby Joe Conner, Jose Campos Torres, Ida Delaney, Byron Gillum, Robbie Tolan, Rodney King, Abner Louima, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, and countless others.
Black Justice Tuesday Coalition has prepared a petition against police brutality in order to receive a NO COMPROMISE! NO SELLOUT! civilian review board with proper funding, prosecutorial rights, & subpoena power.
Citizens of Houston and people from all over the nation will recall that Chad Holley was a young person who was beaten by a number of Houston Police officers. The beating ended up on video tape. While not all Houston police officers would engage in such conduct, the tape was disturbing.
It is good that this issue is being kept alive, and that folks in Houston are using it as a spur for a more accountable Houston Police Department.
Felony Charges Against Occupy Houston Protestors—When Will We Realize That The Freedom Of All People Is Connected?
The Occupy protestors arrested by Annise Parker’s police and charged with a felony for engaging in civil disobedience by alleged moderate DA Pat Lykos are a matter of concern for every liberal, progressive, and civil libertarian in Houston and Harris County.
(Above–A scene from the day the arrests in question took place.)
The freedom of all people is connected.
This is the case if the issue is the Houston police beating of Chad Holley, or anti-gay slurs by a member of the Houston school board.
Everybody is connected. The freedom of all people is connected.
When are civil rights groups in Houston and progressive voters in Houston going to realize this most basic fact?
When will all people realize this most basic fact?
Above and below are icons created by the campaign to reelect Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
You can find these icons on the Annise Parker Facebook page.
Does the Mayor’s record warrant the use of the words you see in these icons?
Of course—This is advertising. The Mayor wants people to donate and volunteer for her campaign. She has every reason to make a pitch for people to come and help her out for the 2011 election.
I’m glad that the Mayor supports fun and good karma.
I’m very sure that she supports victory. Her own victory at least.
Let’s please consider some of the other words used here—
* Grassroots— Mayor Parker gained election in 2009 by winning 53% of the vote in a runoff where 16% of Houstonians voted. Since 2009, I’m not aware of voter registration efforts the Mayor has supported. Nor am I aware of her calls and efforts for more people to become involved in the political process. I don’t see how an election won with the votes of so few people in Houston is grassroots.
* Justice– Mayor Parker has now many times demanded that our police and fire departments act in a correct way towards citizens and towards employees of these departments. She has done this despite the political risks that can be involved with taking on public safety unions. These actions should give people confidence that Mayor Parker believes in fair treatment for all.
*Community Spirit— If leading by example matters, the Mayor has been involved in public affairs as a citizen activist and an officeholder for much of her adult life. If more citizens were to follow her example in this regard, we would have a better city.
* Changing The World— The Mayor was silent on Healthcare Reform that will help so many people in Texas and in Houston who do not now have health insurance. Her voice has not yet been heard of the forced sonogram bill moving towards the Texas Legislature.
Many people in Houston need the strong bully-pulpit advocacy of someone in power. There is very little progressive infrastructure in Houston to help people use politics as a pathway towards a better life.
If the Mayor is going to talk about changing the world, than she should be ready to address issues that go beyond Houston. She should work to empower people.
* Progressive— Well.…. I’m still giving that matter thought when it comes to Mayor Parker. In her last campaign she ran as a “fiscal conservative.” Social justice and economic justice are connected. Mayor Parker should not be allowed to have it both ways in this regard.
Mayor Parker does merit credit for working to exclude city employees making the lowest salaries from the impact of mandatory furloughs.
It would be good to know what Mayor Parker is doing to address the severe budget cuts in health and education coming from the Texas legislature in 2011. If she is not able to make behind the scenes efforts to fight these cuts, than she should be working to rally citizens to fight these cuts. Some type of response from the Mayor should be offered.
Election Day 2011 is now a little more than eight months away. Mayor Parker merits strong consideration for a second term. Her 2011 opponents are not yet known. Frankly, I’m not aware of any liberal or progressive who may be considering the race.
Taking a page from the Mayor’s own record of self-starting public service, let’s work to insist that Mayor Parker both campaign and govern as a progressive for the good of our great city of Houston.
The Houston branch of the NAACP will be holding a community meeting this evening–February 8– to discuss the video-taped beating of 15 year-old Chad Holley by some members of the Houston Police Department.
The Houston NAACP says—
“City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Houston Police Chief, Charles McClelland and District Attorney, Pat Lykos are invited to address the community’s concerns….”
I don’t know if these leaders are attending, but they have been invited.
The meeting will be held tonight at 7:00 PM at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Good Hope is located at 3015 North MacGregor Way in Houston.
Here is the web home of the Houston NAACP. The Houston NAACP also has a Facebook page.
The beating of Chad Holley is a matter of concern for people in Houston. What happens to one person can happen to anybody.
It is good that after many months the video of some Houston police officers beating up Chad Holley has finally been released.
(Update 2/8/11—The Houston NAACP will be holding a community meeting on this subject on 2/8 at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church at 3015 North MacGregor Way in Houston. The meeting begins at 7:00 PM.)
(Update 5/17-12—My reaction to the innocent verdict in the first Holley beating trial.)
The people of Houston have the right to see this video.
(Above–Frame from video of Chad Holley beating.)
Here is the link to the video. Also at this link is the reaction of Houston Mayor Annise Parker to the showing of the tape. Mayor Parker had not wanted the video to be released.
Mr. Holley, who was 15 at the time, has since the beating been convicted of burglary.
Mr. Holley had clearly surrendered to police when he was violently punched and kicked by Houston police officers.
Here is what Mayor Parker said after the video was shown for the first time on Houston television station KTRK—
“…. In fact, it will probably go worldwide. it is not reflective of the men and women who serve the city of Houston, that we took action to remove those officers immediately from the Houston Police Department and we will fight to keep those officers from ever coming back to the Houston Police Department”
Well…Maybe the tape does not reflect Houston police conduct. But there do seem to be a number of officers in the tape who were willing to behave in an unnecessarily violent fashion.
From that report—-
“Seven of the Houston police officers on the tape seen beating Chad Holley were fired for what the police chief saw… But in Houston, firing a police officer doesn’t always mean they stay fired…”
Most Houston police officers are good people and dedicated public servants. People owe police officers every measure of respect.
At the same time, citizens have the right to know when public employees are not doing the job they are paid to do in a correct fashion.
Mayor Parker was wrong from the start to oppose release of the tape.
The video may “go worldwide” as the Mayor says she fears, but she has had every opportunity since she became Mayor in 2009 to address the underlying social and economic conditions in Houston that help propel young people in our city towards crime.
To my recollection, the Mayor has never taken up that subject.
Let people see the facts as they are in Houston.