September 13, 2002
Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

And yet another Didn't Think It Could Possibly Get Any Weirder moment for the K-Mart Kiddie Roundup. Seems that a Houston police officer paid for 50 "no trespassing" signs with his own credit card two days before the Roundup occurred. Presumably, this was done because there were no such signs in place beforehand, and thus no grounds for arresting most of those people.

Councilwoman Ada Edwards sent a letter to [City Controller Sylvia] Garcia's office Wednesday asking her to look into the purchase after council members received an anonymous call from a police officer alerting them that the police paid for the signs.

The caller said Capt. Mark Aguirre ordered [Dilip] Patel to get 50 signs. Patel works in the South Central patrol division where Aguirre served as captain before he was suspended in connect with the arrests.

Buying the signs is legal, but posting them on private property is not, because city funds cannot be spent for private use, city officials said.

"I don't think the city of Houston should purchase `no trespassing' signs to be placed on anything but city of Houston property," Garcia said.

"If they went on private property, I would have concerns, and I think the taxpayers would have concerns."

Garcia said her office will continue to look into the matter to determine if there was a violation of city policy or procedure.

Hey, at least they wanted to have a pretext for arresting people. You know, so they could claim there was a law being violated or something. Doesn't that count for anything any more?

Meanwhile, in a Special Bonus Weird Moment, this story cites yet another figure for the number of arrestees, 298. As Ginger has noted, this number seems to change from one story to the next.

(Snarky aside: Will this appear in Rich Connelly's column in next week's Houston Press? Stay tuned.)

Meanwhile, Police Chief C.O. Bradford is apparently taking that perjury charge seriously, as he's retained three (count 'em) big name defense attornies to fight it. Bradford, you may recall, is accused of lying about calling Captain Aguirre a naughty name. Thank $DEITY we have no other pressing matters in Houston with which to concern ourselves!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 13, 2002 to K-Mart Kiddie Roundup