Let me start by saying, I disagree with how Chief Acevedo has handled this incident. Before the completion of the investigation, he has publicly stated he believes there were “mistruths” in the search warrant affidavit. Then Chief Acevedo doubled down and said, “I’m very confident that we’re going to have criminal charges on one or more police officers,” according to an article from NPR.
Such allegations are concerning, no doubt.
However, he could have simply stated: “As with every police involved shooting, we are conducting an extensive internal investigation into this incident. We are also reviewing the narcotics investigation that precluded the execution of the search warrant to ensure everything was done properly. I can assure the citizens of Houston, IF any criminal misconduct or policy violations are found, they will be handled swiftly and properly. Any criminal charges or administrative discipline deemed necessary, will be forth coming once the internal investigation is COMPLETED.”
Boom. Done. Simple.
Then we wait and see what happens. If misconduct is found, file charges, issue terminations, announce it, and be transparent at that time.
Instead, he released detailed allegations that are potentially criminal in nature. I disagree with this approach. You can be transparent and promote accountability without throwing your troops under the bus BEFORE an investigation is completed.
Continuing his tornado of knee-jerk statements, Chief Acevedo stated the Houston Police Department will no longer use “no-knock” search warrants, in a heated meeting with a group of activists and members of the public.
The method of HOW they served the warrant was NOT the reason bad things happened. The shooting could have still taken place if different search warrant tactics were used. The fact remains, the people inside the house decided to shoot at police officers.
Remember how the Chief stated this all transpired in an article dated January 28, 2019, in USA TODAY:
“Suspects opened fire as soon as officers breached the door at a residence in southeast Houston, Police Chief Art Acevedo said at an evening press conference. Two suspects died at the scene from police gunfire, but Acevedo said police do not know how many suspects shot at police.
About a dozen narcotics officers and six patrol officers, Acevedo said, were at the scene to serve the warrant and provide support to investigate the sale of black tar heroin. Officers breached the front door just before 5 p.m. local time while announcing themselves and hitting the siren and lights on a patrol car.”
However, that has all changed, because on Monday, February 18th, an article from the New York Times stated the following:
“Chief Acevedo stated the Police Department would largely end the practice of forcibly entering homes to search them without warning as officers did the evening of the deadly raid. Moving forward, he said that if officers want to use the tactic, known as no-knock warrants, they would need his permission.”
Without warning? I thought they announced themselves while breaching the door, hitting the lights and siren on a patrol car? I don’t know about you, but to me, that is warning.
Yelling: “Police! Search warrant!” + Siren noise = warning. Not to mention it was 5 p.m., not exactly dark out. I can only imagine they were wearing articles of clothing and/or body armor with the word “POLICE” clearly displayed on them.
So why is this such a debacle? Maybe because Acevedo rushes in front of the cameras to say ANYTHING at all, in hopes of appeasing the public. By doing so, he makes himself and the Houston Police Department look foolish. No one likes flip-flopping. Wait for the facts, it isn’t that difficult.
Search warrant tactical debates aside, I see nothing wrong with saying the following: IF the Houston narcotics detective(s) lied, cut corners, fabricated facts, or did anything untruthful to obtain the search warrant, they deserve to be punished.
If you have a problem with me saying that, fine. Don’t follow me or read my articles. I started this website to tell the truth about policing from an officer’s perspective. My main goal is fighting false and inflammatory narratives that exist today, making police officers’ jobs more dangerous.
The very same narratives that lead to people becoming radicalized and killing my co-workers in Dallas, Texas on July 7th, 2016, or days after in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
That is why I say if wrong, they deserve to be punished.
The public needs to hear that statement.
This isn’t me saying ANYONE is guilty, anyone lied, or speculating before an investigation is complete. It is an “IF THEN” statement. IF wrong, THEN punish them. IF they did nothing wrong, THEN they should be vindicated. Presumed innocent, until proven guilty like anyone else.
It’s the Chief’s fault for releasing such detailed allegations this early, while the detective was still in the hospital. His statements and the specificity of them, are the reason the controversy about truthfulness exists.
Part of fighting the false narrative of “thin blue line of cover-ups” involves admitting mistakes, accepting responsibility for poor decisions, and denouncing behavior that is detrimental to police officers’ reputations. This needs to be done regularly and doesn’t suggest we can’t fight false accusations or stand behind an officer when they are in the right.
In today’s society, if you remain silent about something even POTENTIALLY negative, the masses assume you condone it. It’s that simple.
Put simply, a dishonest police officer has wide spread, long lasting, negative ramifications on the entire profession.
Recently, the FBI announced they are conducting an investigation collaboratively, yet independently, into the search warrant and possible civil rights violations.
As I mentioned, I have multiple follow up articles planned regarding this incident and related topics.
They include: Search warrants – “no-knock” versus “knock announce” how they differ and the pros and cons about each of them, the myths about the “THIN BLUE LINE OF SILENCE”, and lastly, how knee jerk policy changes by police chiefs simply attempt to appease the public but do more harm than good.
So stay tuned and feel free to subscribe for email notifications when an article is published.
As always, thank an officer today.
The Officer Next Door