Police Protection: Speeding While Silent

HPD policies governing lights, high speeds and sirens are supposedly there to safeguard the public. Tell that to Mattie Etubom.

In its motion, the city's attorneys accused Phifer and Brad Beers of concocting a conspiracy theory by lassoing facts from the Medrano case in order to nullify a verdict that didn't make them happy.

"The [Medrano] case was handled and resolved based on the facts and merits of that case, which have nothing to with this case," the motion states.

Which might turn out to be true if the city's legal department could just delineate how those facts and merits "cried out" for a settlement and the facts and merits in the Etubom case don't — especially when the city was ready to pin Estela Medrano's death on her husband's circadian rhythms.

Mattie Etubom and her boyfriend, James Williams, say their lives were turned upside down after the 2009 accident.
Daniel Kramer
Mattie Etubom and her boyfriend, James Williams, say their lives were turned upside down after the 2009 accident.
A Houston police officer had not activated his car's lights or siren when he hit Lashonda Rochelle's car in 2009. The police car, which may have contained crucial evidence in the case, was later blown up in bomb-squad practice.
Courtesy of Mike Phifer
A Houston police officer had not activated his car's lights or siren when he hit Lashonda Rochelle's car in 2009. The police car, which may have contained crucial evidence in the case, was later blown up in bomb-squad practice.

Instead, the city paid her husband $262,500 — but city attorneys also agreed to the Medranos' special request: that the Houston Police Department produce a training video on the risks of speeding while running silent.

Narrated by one of Medrano's sons, the script reads, "I believe that my mother would be alive today if the officer had used good judgment and turned on his emergency lights and siren...We don't want you to be injured or killed, and we don't want any other families to suffer the way our family has suffered."

The department agreed to show the video to cadets, and to current officers during retraining exercises, through August 31, 2014.

After that, the department doesn't have to show it.

craig.malisow@houstonpress.com

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8 comments
paval
paval topcommenter

This reminds me of an old joke about insurance sales people. A friend told one insurance agent: 

"I have fire, water, earthquake, car, home, hurricane, bad weather, good weather, etc. insurance. The only insurance I do not have is one against insurance agents"


In this case, police is supposed to be our protector against the bad people, but who protects us citizens of an over-eager, under-trained, overly fraternal, contradictorially regulated, police force, our servers and protectors.?


JoeAngel
JoeAngel

What an absolute outrage. I'm so tired of the corruption in HPD and our City.  

Dodd Melcher
Dodd Melcher

Almost universally as far as I know, police are a fraternal organization that will protect their own no matter what.

Robin Varner
Robin Varner

I shared this earlier because like so many of the articles the Press writes about, peoples lives are forever changed in drastic ways

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

HPD we're supposed to enforce the laws but they do not apply to us.. Can't tell you how many times I've seen an HPD cruiser headed down West Dallas at 90-100 MPH with no lights on, only using them to run red lights, and the posted speed limit is 30. This happens near daily..

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Now that I mention that there are now 2-3 speed traps in the afternoon on W Dallas.  Consider yourself warned, looking for folks hauling tail out of downtown towards Montrose. HPD will exceed the speed limit by 2-3x, while you will get a ticket for 35, aww isn't hypocrisy grand.


MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

When I rode a bicycle in Houston, I was regularly harrassed by cops--one even ticketed me for failure to make a complete stop at a stop sign. Not all cops were like that though. There were several cops who nearly hit me while talking on cell phones or flying down the street without lights/sirens. 

 
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