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A “Mike Brown Law” for Houston

From the inbox:


HOUSTON- Hundreds plan to attend a town hall organized by Houston Justice, a grassroots activist group aimed at local criminal justice reform. The first goal is to pass necessary legislation to adopt the Mike Brown Law that requires body cams for on duty police officers in Houston. Houston Police Department Chief Charles McClelland has already come out in publicly in support of the measure (link to Houston Chronicle story), but with a $140 Million deficit looming at city hall, the group is proactively demanding commitment from Houston City Council.

“Recent events have caused an awakening in our community, our first goal is to pass the Mike Brown Law at Houston City Hall,” said Durrel Douglas, an activist with Houston Justice. “With our energy we will pass an ordinance funding mandatory body cams for police (petition here) and increase diversity on grand juries. We will balance the scales of justice in Harris County,” concluded Douglas. According to a recent Gallup Poll, 24% of African American males said they had been treated unfairly in dealings with police in the last 30 days.

The activist group is holding a town hall this Thursday where next steps will be planned and attendees will have an opportunity to voice their opinions, apply to be grand jurors in Harris County and register to vote.


Who: Houston Justice Coalition
What: Community Town Hall, Planning Session
When: Thursday, December 4, 2014 6:30 PM
Where: El Dorado Ballroom
2310 Elgin
Houston, Texas 77004

See these two posts for some background on HPD and body cameras, and this Chron story from last week for Chied McClelland’s most recent statement in support of them. McClelland has already made a request to Council for up to $8 million to buy and deploy these cameras. We need to determine a funding source for that and make it happen, and along the way we need to figure out what the rules will be for keeping and accessing the video footage they will generate. I kind of like the suggestion made in the comments here by Steven Houston to make it all (with some limited exceptions) publicly available. Whether that’s feasible or not, let’s move forward with this. There’s a lot to be done to ensure accountability and restore the faith of all of the public in police work, and this is a key first step.

UPDATE: Here’s a Chron story about another town hall event, which took place yesterday. I don’t think we can have too many of these right now.

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