Punishments for HPD officers often unravel | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Posted: February 22, 2011 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

By JAMES PINKERTON

HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Hearing examiners for the city have overturned or reduced nearly 70 percent of punishments given to Houston police officers by HPD management over the last 17 years, recently obtained records show.

The role of independent examiners is a key element in Houston’s ability to discipline and remove dangerous officers from the force.

Perceptions of police misconduct and brutality in Houston have intensified so much recently that on Friday Mayor Annise Parker announced a new, independent police oversight board would replace the existing citizens’ review committee to address ongoing concerns in the community.

The mayor’s administration is also negotiating with police unions to replace most of the 10 examiners with a new slate of arbitrators.

No one disputes that rogue police should be disciplined or in some cases fired.

Houston police officers have nearly a 7 in 10 chance of having their punishments overturned or reduced when they appeal their case to an outside examiner, according to city records. In the 378 cases the 10 current examiners heard from 1993 through 2010, examiners overturned 103 punishments. They reduced 156 more in the same time frame while upholding 119 punishments.

The issue has become contentious as Police Chief Charles McClelland has fought to keep two officers from winning their jobs back after he fired them last year for their role in the beating of burglary suspect Chad Holley. Both officers were reinstated to their jobs by hearing examiners, and the city has filed appeals to keep the officers from returning to the force.

via Punishments for HPD officers often unravel | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

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