HOUSTON - A businessman claims he was attacked by an off-duty Houston police officer.
Al Herzik said he saw a mechanic across from his business being berated on Nov. 11, 2011. He said he took out his cellphone to record it, and the aggressive man ran over to him.
"He ran across the street shouting, 'Give me that cellphone,'" Herzik said. "Pushed me on the ground, took my cellphone away, broke my glasses."
Community activists said Herzik's attacker was Kenny Li, a Houston police officer.
Surveillance video of the incident showed that Li called for police backup. Community activists said that was a waste of police resourced and tax dollars on a personal issue.
Herzik said he feels that his citizen's rights were violated and wants the Department of Justice to open an investigation.
Union officials said Li was suspended for five days for lack of judgment. Li has appealed that suspension.
"The HPD Internal Affairs Division completed a thorough investigation of the complaint filed against Officer K. Li. The infractions that were sustained were administrative in nature only. After reviewing all of the facts and evidence gathered in the investigation, the five-day suspension was appropriate," Police Chief Charles McClelland said.
"If a five-day suspension is what an officer gets for what Li did on Nov. 11, then we need a new police chief," community activist Deric Muhammad said.
Union officials said Houston police first learned of the complaint in June 2012, seven months after the alleged incident.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker said Wednesday that she did not have specific knowledge of the allegations.
"We thoroughly investigate as a city," Parker said. "We don't defer to the Justice Department, but we make sure they are aware of the incident and they have the opportunity to come in and investigate side-by-side or look over our shoulders."
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