HOUSTON - Houston's police chief says he has accepted a one day suspension without pay after hitting a pedestrian with his city vehicle.
The department has released video of the accident that happened on Sept. 4. The chief says the investigation has concluded, and showed what he has said from the beginning, that he was at fault. He says as a result, he's holding himself to a higher standard.
In the video, you can clearly see a man stepping off the curb and then the chief's black SUV striking him as he makes a left turn. The impact threw the man several feet and police say the victim's arm was possibly broken.
"It's very unnerving when you strike someone with a vehicle and I'm very thankful he wasn't more seriously injured," Chief McClelland said.
Addressing the media Thursday, the chief announced the investigation is complete, and as a result, he has agreed to a one day suspension without pay from Mayor Annise Parker.
"I'm saying, I'm the boss, I should take a bigger hit," said McClelland.
The chief says by accepting the suspension he's holding himself to a higher standard. He said under similar circumstances, the normal disciplinary actions for any other on-duty officer would be a written reprimand.
"I just want the public to know that as a leader of this organization, I set the tone. And many of you have heard me say, if we mess up, we clean up and we fess up," he said.
The chief says because officers are already subject to administrative procedures and the disciplinary process following traffic incidents, the department doesn't have a practice of issuing citations so he won't be cited. Still, the incident will be on his driving record.
The chief says following the investigation, he will be enrolling in defensive driving and he's also requested a special operations unit to monitor pedestrian traffic downtown during peak times to make sure they're doing everything they can to keep pedestrians safe.
The chief has up to one year to take that one day suspension. At this point, there has been no date set.
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