Houston/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 11, 2024
Houston Police Report on 264,000 Dismissed Cases Expected, Accountability in Question Amid Ongoing InvestigationSource: Google Street View

An internal report regarding the dismissal of more than 264,000 cases by the Houston Police Department is anticipated to be released early next week, according to Mayor John Whitmire. Douglas Griffith, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, expects the report to shed light on department personnel disciplined and potentially reassigned in the fallout of what's been characterized as a systemic failure. The independent panel's findings, mirroring an earlier Houston Chronicle investigation, emphasized the chaotic nature of the year when the code to suspend these cases was implemented, particularly within the special victims division.

The same report skates around the mention of former Chief Troy Finner, retiring abruptly a week after its release, and fails to delve into accountability for the continued use of the suspension code. Griffith informed the Houston Chronicle that details on who else might face consequences are scant, but despite most names in the first report being those of retired or former employees, more demotions are presumed to be looming.

Contradictory information has surfaced about the status of the internal affairs investigation into suspended sex assault cases. Former Houston Police Chief Troy Finner announced to the public via social media at the end of April that the investigation was concluded. However, additional investigative steps were deemed necessary by HPD, as disclosed by a statement released by the department following concerns from the Administration Disciplinary Committee, according to KPRC 2 Investigates. This admission has added fuel to the controversy already ignited by questions surrounding Executive Assistant Chief Chandra Hatcher's involvement and knowledge.

Further complicating the issue, documents indicate Executive Assistant Chief Hatcher, a key figure in Finner's executive team, may not have been present at a critical meeting she cited as grounds for her call for an investigation. It later emerged that at a retreat during the time of the supposed meeting, Hatcher was indeed scheduled to be elsewhere, although she claimed in her letter "I distinctly recall heightened concern and discussion centered on the need for sexual assault cases be appropriately investigated due to the nature and sensitivity of these crimes." KPRC 2 Investigates' findings suggest her physical absence casts doubt on her recollection of events. Meanwhile, lawyers representing the Houston Police Officers Union are demanding a comprehensive questioning of everyone involved in the said meeting, directly challenging Chief Finner's claims as outlined within a letter sent to civic leaders, as KPRC 2 Investigates continues to track developments.