^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

City Council Needs An Open-Records Request To View HPD Tape

City Council members say they have begun looking into the

case of Charles Chukwu

, the man who so far has been denied access to a security video taken at the city jail that he claims may show guards beating him.

The Houston police internal affairs division has reviewed the tape and ruled that it does not substantiate Chukwu’s claims, says Chukwu, but he complained to city council last week that he should have the right to see the videotape for himself.

Council member Sue Lovell expressed concern at the meeting and, according to a member of her staff, asked HPD about the video. Lovell was apparently told that she would need to file an open records request to try to get it.

“That’s absolutely crazy,” Randall Kallinen, a civil rights attorney who appeared alongside Chukwu at the council meeting, tells Hair Balls. “Sue Lovell is part of the governing body, so the police department is telling a council member that she can’t have a copy of a tape that was taped inside the city jail? That’s just crazy.”

Chukwu has already tried to access materials related to the investigation of his claim through the open records law, but was denied by the Attorney General under a provision that exempts information dealing with investigations that do not result in a conviction.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Kallinen fears the same will happen should Lovell pursue the video through the open records act – a long way to go to get back to square one and no tape.

“I don’t see how one department of the City of Houston can tell the governing body they’re not going to release something,” he says. “They’re just passing the buck and trying to fool the public.”

Lovell will decide this week whether to file the request for the videotape, according to a staff member.

-- Chris Vogel

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.