HOUSTON – George Floyd’s death and in the protests and marches that followed, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has been making the rounds on national media. But it’s what he’s saying closer to home that’s causing some concerns.
In one video posted on social media, Acevedo is seen heatedly telling a crowd of people “pay close attention because these little white guys with their skateboards are the ones who are starting all the s***.”
And a day after protests got out of hand in Houston, the chief said this at a news conference at city hall:
“We’re seeing that there are people, who are not people of color, who are coming into this city and other cities to actually start agitating and actually engaging in violence.”
Searching for the truth
Channel 2 Investigates spent the past few days trying to find evidence to support Acevedo’s claim that a certain race of out-of-towners came to Houston to start trouble.
“Yeah, we looked into it,” said Houston Police Officers Union President Joe Gamaldi. “I’m not really sure why the chief is misleading the public, I’m not sure if he’s trying to make some sort of political statement.”
So what did Gamaldi find?
“What our officers were telling us is that it was people of all races that were throwing water bottles, throwing rocks or throwing bricks,” Gamaldi says.
And what does the paperwork tell us?
We reviewed hundreds of arrests over the protest time period and we could not verify a single criminal case in Houston that matches the chief’s description. The overwhelming majority of those charged are from here and like Houston, it’s a racially diverse group.
“Frankly we don’t care who the race is of the person throwing a rock at our officers,” Gamaldi said. “We just hope that person gets arrested and goes to jail for it.”
The verdict: Not True
KPRC 2 made several requests for an interview with Acevedo to give him a chance to explain what he meant and why we couldn’t find anything to support it, but he didn’t make himself available. So without further clarification and no evidence to support his claim, we rate this red on the Channel 2 Trust Index.