HOUSTON – Houston Police chief Art Acevedo stands in solidarity with those outraged by the death of George Floyd, a Houston-native who was killed while in police custody.
As protests emerge across the country and in Houston, Acevedo said he has marched with the protestors, including rappers Trae the Truth and Bun B in the Third Ward, where Floyd grew up.
“We have a man, a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin, a Houstonian and a child of God that was killed by servants, that suppose to be servants of God,” Acevedo said in an emotional speech at a local church Sunday. “They showed no mercy when they put their knee on his neck.”
Acevedo said he understands why people are protesting. Videos show a police officer kneeling in Floyd’s neck while other officers assisted and George told officers he could not breathe.
“For every Black mother, brother, sister, uncle, cousin, they saw their family in George’s face," Acevedo said.
“We don’t fear speaking the truth because we are doing God’s work. We are covered by the holy spirit. We don’t fear when people are angry because we join them when they are angry.”
Acevedo, who was sworn in as HPD chief in November 2016 and previously serving nine years as the Chief of the Austin Police Department, changed his profile picture on Twitter to a picture of Floyd.
“I don’t care what people think because I know my God put me in this position to not to keep my job, but to do my job, and to lift him up. We will get through this.”
In recent weeks, HPD has come under fire for a rising number of officer-involved shootings in Houston. The FBI is looking into the controversial, deadly shooting of Nicolas Chavez. Officials said he was shot dead while on his knees on April 21 in southeast Houston.
There have been eight officer-involved shootings in Houston since April 21. Of that, six suspects were killed, which is more than all of the officer-involved shooting deaths in 2017 and one less than in 2018. In the three years since Acevedo has been in charge, there have been 54 officer-involved shooting resulting in 20 deaths.
“We are very concerned about the increase in officer-involved shootings. This is the eighth officer-involved shooting in just a couple of weeks. This should be a concern for everybody,” Acevedo said Friday.
Here is another video of Acevedo speaking with a crowd of protestors in Houston:
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Hearing The Police Chief @artacevedo Speak Up For The People And Minorities And Speak Out About Bad Officers And Racist People The Way He Did Today and Puttin His Job To The Side To March With Us Meant Alot ... I Can Honestly Say He One Of The Few Who Stands For What Right!!! And He Also Decide To Give The Family A Police Motorcade For George Floyd Funeral To Have Him Layed To Rest... We Will Say His Name.. #GeorgeFloyd Salute!! Love..