Mayor Turner to make publicly-funded HPD audit available only to legislators

HPD transparency and policing reforms

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Friday morning that he is taking a look at the audit that the Houston Police Department has yet to make public.

“I am reviewing that audit myself,” he said.

The completed audit focused HPD’s narcotics division after the botched Harding Street raid in January 2019. Since its completion, HPD has held the report close to its chest, even as Turner and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo have touted transparency.

“Why are you hiding if you have nothing to hide?” asked State Rep. Gene Wu earlier this week.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman also called for the city to come clean and ”release the information.”

Several Representatives have joined Wu in calling for the release of HPD’s audit and they were followed by multiple Houston City Council Members.

On Friday, with political pressure in Austin and in his backyard growing, Turner told Channel 2 Investigates the audit will be made available.

However, there’s a catch.

“I will say to Chief Acevedo and to HPD, with respect to that audit, we will make it available to our legislators,” Turner said during a news conference.

The news did not sit well with some, including Odus Evbagharu, who has been calling for transparency surrounding the audit.

“I respect the Mayor. I support the Mayor, but I am disappointed in that,” said Evbagharu who is the Chief of Staff of State Rep. Jon Rosenthal.

Evbagharu has been critical of HPD not publicly releasing the internal audit considering taxpayers paid for it.

“This is a public audit. People paid for it. We have a responsibility to let public know what is going on in these departments,” he said.

In the press conference, Acevedo said he agreed with Turner’s decision.

For now, Acevedo says the public will he denied transparency as a result of a legal ruling.

“We have ruling from the (Attorney General) we just received, that says for legislative purposes we are required to release it to the legislature,” he said.

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