Transcript for Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo explains why he doesn't support defunding the police
One of the things we want to talk bad as you were one of the first city police chiefs to speak out after the death of George Floyd. And you've marched in solidarity with black lives matters up post protesters in Houston. Why haven't we heard from. Other chiefs and union leaders about the atrocities that we see happening in the country and that are very clearly. Not the way police offices should be acting why are we hearing from more. Folks like yourself. Well thank good morning ladies thanks for having me I'm honored to be here but. I think that there's a lot of Chee speak and now I have the privilege actually being the president of the major city chiefs association which is the 69 large departments in that in the country. And other my largest in Canada. And you want a white is Kyle over the place because I'm representing I'm I'm I'm lifting their voices on behalf of America's chief so. We have an organization actually I condemn what happened to mr. Floyd. Are condemning a lot of things aren't and calling for the changes we need. Two. Reduce these incidents is terrific and stands out and in our country. She baca made LA yesterday ex Atlanta police officer Garrett Wolfe was charged with eleven counts. Including felony murder in the death of ray shard Brooks if convicted he could face the death penalty or life in prison. His attorney said his statement that quote wolf's actions were justified. Last night a number of Atlanta police officers called out sick in an apparent protest. This is very disconcerting to me I thought this was something that could possibly happen in my city. Or these charges appropriate and do you worry about more police officers. You know taking sick days and walking off the job because it doesn't seem worth it. You know I think there I've been asked about that should have a look at it called rule closely. But based on what I have seen in known and do know. Yeah it's a problematic shooting for for that officer when enough individuals running away. And and so I think he's gonna have a tough road ahead. Having said that. I'm really proud of being the police chief in the most diversity in the country the most ever speaks in a country. Our department's homegrown were minority majority department serving minority majority city. And so far and our department speaking bar agency. Our men and women see this as an opportunity. Each challenging times debt actually stepped up rise to that challenge dating all the histories watching we've been telling them that they know that the country's watching the world's watching a lot of our people face or god is watching and so. We see it as an opportunity to boost a stand tall stand with our community. When we do right stand up profits urgently if they mess up. They've got to fess up and of this sin is significant they've got to pay the price in which means sometimes lose your job or or maybe even jail. But so far here and our city and a lot of of the departments the officers are standing. Fast because. Were hopeful that allow the changes that we've called for and law enforcement. Including dealing with the social economic issues. That the health challenges of mental health challenges addiction challenges. All things that we had should be addressing as a nation. This is a moment that the men and woman who blew the good minimum blue bowl will be supported. By thoughtful leadership that law actually start at dressing. This systemic problems in our country including the system and problems with race relations. And that go well beyond the law enforcement community. So so arm chief fact Acevedo Democrats and Republicans have dueling proposals. When it comes to police reform. Addressing bands on choke holds and no knock warrants creating good database. Two track officer misconduct and the Democrats want to end qualified immunity. Which shields offices from lawsuits. So do you agree with what's being proposed. And what reforms you think I need it. I think back to that the main street she's what's gonna its all my colleagues. Ups on the president not the you know I'm not deals are. We support despite all those reforms that qualified immunity our initial position is we don't support eliminating it. This is 20/20 qualified immunity is a very old law that hasn't had it hasn't been addressed a long time. And go we support that the fact and that the belief strong belief. We have to take a very critical look at all white immunity to see if there's opportunities to adjust outlaw. To make it easier for the community and apartments. To actually hold. Bad police officers police officers that violate. Other dirt their oath of office the constitution. To hold them accountable so I don't think we'll ever get to the point where we want to get rid of it completely because we don't want to create a situation more police officers. We'll hesitate to dictate the science is decisive action. Protecting our community. But we're not but we do believe that we half to. Explore how it can be adjusted to how club a greater justice and accountability in our country. Chief of your department has conducted. These controversial no knock craze like the one that killed embryonic Taylor. In 20191. Of those resulted in the death of a couple. The officer Gerard coins was charged with murder and tampering with government records. He has pleaded not guilty now the Harris County DA anticipates it will dismiss more than. 150 drug cases handled by planes who in 2004 arrested George Floyd. I'm drug charges there's also been criticism for not releasing dash cam videos of six fatal shootings. By officers in your department. Do you believe that I'm now is the time that these types of reforms that you just mentioned are necessary will be addressed in your own house. Well actually like it let's let's Forestar I think what goal was no way when the Rodney King. Incident occurred in the early ninety's. As you recall there was so much pretrial publicity. That trial was removed. From LA county the most diverse county in the country to Simi Valley. Upper middle class community predominantly white and we know what happened without trial those officers raw quit it. And they would that led to the LA riots I was there as a young acting startled cal patrol 5055 them Americans lost their lives doing those riots. I really believe that we have to be careful that we don't create an environment were just released. Video Willy Nilly. This is this the most diverse city the most diverse county in the country here in an Harris county and Houston. I am really concerned that it we release things before the criminal are cases are heard that we remove the ability of the people who. Shoes tend to render judgment and if it ends up in east Texas it looks nothing like this melting pot and that's an injustice so. We need to be thoughtful we need to remove the emulsion. And and at the end of the day I just had I've been showing. The videos of state law allows us to to the families of arms suspects that were deceased they continue to see him. And the majority of them shall part of the six don't want to data released so we're gonna come up with a natural process. The DA can mock and I are talking. We're gonna let the community when he and mayor turner arm mayor has set up a committee. That hopefully by September we will come well with the various topple. Rules. To be able to that the communal here's what we think is a community thinks and we can be consistent in the way we approach. Are these very. I think each challenging circumstances. One of the questions that as running around right now are questions about this. He testified at both before judiciary committees in congress that deepening the police is not the answer to solving the social and economic problems in this country. In fact the Houston City Council just voted to increase the police budget by nearly twenty million dollars why do you believe cutting funding as the wrong live. Well I think for sort of false equivalence right we are to choose one or the other. There's an abolitionist movement our country which toward them means get rid of the police. Others. A movement that says we need to take ways we'll look responsibility of the police and given to other entities. We don't disagree with that. But a cargo money astronaut our conference call nailed and amenities a look this car could you gonna build a new sports stadium. You you don't you don't tear down the all sports stadium. Stopped using it into the new ones new. So we have to be very thoughtful because I'm on my community which is does purport to walk went to link calls per year per service our communities of color. There are being victimized by violent crime and I app got news proposed those communities of color deserved. Both. Public safety. Security. Public safety and security. And the social economic well educational. Mental health public health. Oh and an employment opportunities as other community so I don't think that. They don't want less police they want better policing and they want the same opportunities. Up other communities have and so. If you go talk to institute to people Houston arrested not shall not we don't want let's policing what better policing and why should I have to give up. Outsmart security. I think that Colbert showed that the congress can print trillions of dollars went Coke and impacted the whole nation they can make those kind of investments. In poor communities in the Indian communities of color including poor communities that happened to be white folks as well also. There there's a lot the can be done. And we shouldn't give people false choices that it did just aren't based in fact. So you know we we're looking at all these incidents that are happening around the country. And of course is there is now outrage over the hanging deaths of two. Young black men found days apart in California after one was initially ruled a suicide. This week. I Hispanic man and a black teen were found hanging and Texas that rep Sheila Jackson Lee is calling for a thorough investigation. Since one is in your jurisdiction. What's your what are your thoughts. Is it. Is it a good idea to really. Have everybody calm down so we can figure out what these actually are. Yeah I think it's I would tell people look we'll all that you take a deep breath Robbie Ross if you will be one. When I heard about the one you know we had and our city. You have to realize the history of our country and lynchings and I'm glad that lunch is five and become a federal crime appears it shall momentum. When somebody's found hiding for a tree and special personal color we can't just. Willy Nilly rule is suicide. We've got to approach it like it's a homicide start at that level. Until we. You don't cross your t.'s dot RI's lead snowstorm turned to ensure it was in fact. The suicides so the one that you're talking about our city was spinning out of control right away. We actually shot the family the individual savvy had suicidal. Stops. But I told my team I want to go back insure that we looked up all video cameras from Al Green phones public safety. A cameras everything in sure really was us who essential we ought to our community to the deceased families to treated as a homicide. Two to make sure that we we we don't have a murder that's being covered as arms. I mean as this was actually.
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