By now you are aware of the fight the HPOU has been embroiled in for some time regarding the formerly convicted killer of Houston Police Officer Charlie Clark and civilian clerk Alfredia Jones, Alfred Brown being released from prison and District Attorney Kim Ogg’s obsession with naming him “actually innocent.”
I have gone over this case before in previous articles, but it bears mentioning once again that no reasonable person who reviews this case believes that Alfred Brown is actually innocent. In fact, a recently published article in the Chronicle as well as the studied beliefs of our own sources tell us that some of Ogg’s top prosecutors looked at this case and said there was no chance that Brown is “actually innocent.”
So to review, you have the HPD Homicide Division, Police Chief Art Acevedo and actual prosecutors from the DA’s office all saying Alfred Brown should not be named “actually innocent” and yet the DA of the third largest county in the country is continuing to forge forward with her fool’s errand.
The past few weeks I have been attending court hearings where the DA herself is begging a criminal judge in state district court to name Brown “actually innocent” even though we do not believe this judge has the jurisdiction to do so.
This is all based on the farcical report that her campaign donor John Raley prepared for the DA to give her coverage in the public. While preparing the farce, for which he was paid handsomely with taxpayer dollars, Raley interviewed one civilian – at the HPOU’s urging – to draw his conclusions. One civilian!
I will remind you that if a criminal district judge were to name Alfred Brown innocent, he or she would be entitled to millions in compensation – again, with taxpayer dollars.
A number of officers have approached me and questioned why DA Ogg has pushed so hard in this fight, when her own people don’t even agree with her? They have asked if she truly hates the police that much?
I actually believe it is much more insidious than that. Quite simply, Kim Ogg is worried about a primary opponent from the Democratic Party and she knows that this would be used against her because she promised she would “review” this case during her last election campaign.
To wrap up this important topic, Kim Ogg is willing to let a formerly convicted cop killer and still No. 1 prime suspect in the murder of Officer Charles Clark walk free with millions in his pocket – all because she wants to be re-elected.
This is quite possibly the most shameful political stunt I have ever seen. It’s why we hold press conferences to slam the DA and her actions and why we will continue to be at every court hearing fighting this shameful action.
We will never forget the sacrifices of the Clark and Jones families and their never-ending search for real justice. We will also make sure our community doesn’t forget come election time.
Prop B Update
There was a hearing on April 18 that addressed our lawsuit challenging the legality/validity of Proposition B. The judge ordered all parties – the HPOU, the City and the Houston Fire Union – to mediation. We have attended several mediation sessions, but have reached no settlement agreement at this time.
This is non-binding mediation, meaning that if an agreement cannot be reached, the mediator will declare an impasse and the judge will then have to rule on the case.
While waiting for the judge’s decision the City is moving forward with identifying the cost savings in order to pay for Prop B. Last week Mayor Turner and the Houston City Council approved laying off 222 classified firefighters along with 67 fire cadets, bringing the total to 289 from the Fire Department roster.
Now please keep in mind that the fire union could agree to spread these raises out over five years and have no layoffs. But at this point the union leaders have refused.
In addition, there will be 47 municipal employees laid off from various departments across the City. This is exactly what we conveyed in countless campaign ads and appearances during the election. We constantly stressed that if a funding source such as a garbage fee was not added to the proposition or if such a funding source was later voted down by council (which it was 16-1) that, yes, there would need to be layoffs.
Those layoffs, we said time and again, would not only affect HFD but also in other city departments in order to pay for Prop B.
There will be no layoffs in the Houston Police Department and our academy has remained open with a continued plan to hire cadets. Some in the community have asked why is HPD still hiring while other city departments are receiving pink slips?
There is a simple answer: it is a prioritization of resources. We are short-staffed by anywhere from 1,200-1,500 officers and we cannot keep up with the growing demand of Houstonians.
The symptoms of our staffing crisis are everywhere. Patrol officers are running call to call to call, our response times are rapidly rising and our detectives are under crippling caseloads. The Department and City cannot afford to stop hiring police officers, it’s that simple.
As always, be safe out there and if you need anything I am only a phone call, text away, or you can also reach me at the following: email (email@example.com), messenger on Facebook, DM on twitter (@JoeGamaldi).