Cops Taking On Quannel X? No Uniforms Allowed

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

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

Some working stiffs would love to hear their boss tell them, "Hey, don't worry about those stuffy work clothes." But when that boss is HPD Chief Harold Hurtt, and those stiffs are three officers announcing a lawsuit against two men who publicly accused them of brutality, it smacks of top brass refusing to support the troops on the ground, Houston Police Officers Union President Gary Blankinship tells Hair Balls.

Three HPD officers who were accused of using excessive force on Marvin Driver Jr. -- father of NFL wide receiver Donald Driver -- have sued Driver and activist Quanell X for making what they say are false allegations about the November incident. (The department's investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing on the officers' part.) They appeared at the Feb. 6 press conference announcing the suit in civilian attire, as per Hurtt's directive to Blankinship.

A piece about the situation in this month's Badge & Gun, HPOU's monthly newsletter, is highly critical of what it called the chief's "disgusting morale-lowering decisions." Harsh words that Blankinship isn't afraid to echo.

"Just another example of the chief not supporting his troops," he tells us. "The one time they want to stand up for being falsely accused in that uniform, the department and city don't back them up. It makes me sick."

Blankinship says Hurtt also sent a text message to the command staff telling them they could go to the conference but instructed them to not wear their uniforms or speak to the media. None of the commanders showed.

"There was one captain that walked in the room for a minute," Blankinship says.

This incident is just one episode of what's been a strained relationship, the union president tells us.

"There are a lot of things that I agree with Chief Hurtt on. But the rank-and-file do not support the chief." (Ouch!) "I've really fought off going after the chief publicly, but I have a rank-and-file that really wants me to go after the chief."

Blankinship did not go on to say that Hurtt is not fit to hand-wash the sweat-drenched undergarments of Houston's finest, but we did get the impression that feelings are running somewhere along those lines.

We haven't gotten our call to HPD media relations returned, but we'll update if we do.

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.