HOUSTON – In recent days, there has been a loud chorus calling for change with regards to the Houston Police Department. Community organizations and families are seeking for the department to release body cams from officer-involved shootings.
On Thursday, a new voice from a significant organization was heard.
The Houston Police Officers’ Union, which represents the officers wearing the body cams, also pushed the department to release the videos.
“We certainly support transparency and the HPOU has been on the record of go ahead and release body cam video for officer-involved shootings because whether they shooting is good or bad we are going to have to deal with it,” said Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union.
Gamaldi said the HPD Chief Art Acevedo wants to blame the resistance on the police union.
“He blames the police unions for problems with transparency but yet we are the one saying, ‘please release the body camera footage of officer-involved shootings,’" Gamaldi said.
Gamaldi’s comments come during a stretch where HPD has seen six officer-involved shooting deaths since April.
It was last week where Chief Acevedo spoke to the topic of transparency.
“I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I believe in transparency," Acevedo said.
However, of late the chief has been met with heavy criticism for his lack of it. Families and their legal representatives told KPRC 2 that they haven’t seen it.
Lovie Williams Linzer, the aunt and guardian of Davion Edison, wants answers over his December shooting death.
“I want to see it myself and I want it released to everyone,” she said.
She is not the only one seeking videos or information. The families of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas have had to go to state court to obtain information from HPD.
“There are just so many questions that they’ve just refused to tell the truth about and share it with the public that needs to know,” said Mike Doyle an Attorney for the Nicholas family.
KPRC 2 Investigates did reach out to Acevedo for a response to the union’s comments. He did not provide an official response.
Mayor Sylvester Turner also was unavailable to respond to multiple requests surrounding the challenges families are facing with HPD and transparency.