HOUSTON – Houston police Chief Art Acevedo appeared on the TODAY Show on Wednesday morning after about 60,000 people marched through downtown to honor George Floyd.
Floyd, a Houston native, died while being detained by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day. His death has sparked outrage, protests and calls for justice across the nation after video showed an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck while Floyd pleaded for air.
That image was contrasted by Acevedo being questioned by protesters about officer-involved shootings at the Houston Police Department, specifically calls for the chief to release video of the shootings from body cameras worn by the officers.
“Your police department has seen six fatal officer shootings since mid-April,” said TODAY Show anchor Hoda Kotb. “Yesterday you were out with the protesters, and they were confronting you, and they were upset about it. It sounded like what they were asking for you guys to release the bodycam video. Is that something you can commit to?”
Acevedo said his department will be releasing video of one of those shootings, but he is holding the release of other videos.
“We don’t want to take any chances on the change of venue,” Acevedo said. “This is a very diverse county and city. We don’t want too much publicity if charges are filed on a couple of our cases. The bottom line is if charges are filed, we want a jury pulled from this diverse, melting-pot of a city, and not in East Texas or West Texas or another part of Texas that isn’t reflective of our community.”
The chief also called for national standards that police departments can follow when it comes to the release of body camera video.
“I think we have to have a national standard, and we have to have a conversation, because as we explain to folks why we don’t want to in certain circumstances, they start processing, they understand it,” Acevedo replied. “What we need moving forward is a national approach to the critical policies in law enforcement. You cannot have 18,000 sets of policies, as we have police departments, or you cannot have 50 for every state.”
You can watch Acevedo’s entire interview below.