Monthly Archives: October 2015

HAS THE HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT PLACEDENT YOUR FAVORITE BAR AND NIGHTCLUB ON ITS BAN LIST?


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The controversy surrounding Gaslamp in Midtown prompted the Harris County Sheriff’s office to ban its deputies from working security at the bar.

In a May 2015 amateur video a White female says her Black friends were charged to get in the bar while she wasn’t.

It’s a charge of discrimination Gaslamp has been fighting and aggressively denying through its attorney since September.

But standing by watching it all was a Harris County deputy.

The video shows he would only enforce the bar’s policy by telling the women who complained of discrimination to leave.

We decided to check with the Houston Police Department about the nightclubs, bars and other businesses they have banned their officers from working extra security.

Public records show HPD was aware of Gaslamp’s alleged discrimination since October 2014.

That’s when the department banned its officers from working security at the bar because of house rules.

Ray Hunt with the police union has no problem with HPD’s long list of bars and clubs they have banned their officers from working at as security.

More than 70 businesses have made the list. HPD cites various reasons from discrimination to shady owners with criminal convictions, prostitution, gambling, rave parties, and even cock fighting.

But the most surprising business on that list is the House of Blues.

Now keep in mind HPD did not ban the business because of anything bad.

Hunt says, “House of Blues and their corporate do not permit officers to come in there off duty carrying their weapons.”

In the meantime, Hunt says if a Houston police officer sees something illegal at an extra job he or she must report it.

What if that officer turns a blind eye to questionable activity while just collecting a check?

“They could be terminated. It’s called sound judgment,” says Hunt.

Note: Gaslamp has denied any allegations of discrimination at the bar through the company’s attorney.

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Hello Isiah,

My colleague Jake forwarded your e-mail. Please find below a statement from Rick Savard, CEO and Chairman of RushCard:

 

In an ongoing effort to upgrade and create new services for our customers, RushCard underwent a technology transition to a new transaction processing partner Monday morning. During this process, many of our customers were adversely affected when the technology that was used to transition their accounts did not work as planned.

 

RushCard is working around the clock to resolve all of these matters. We have restored many of our customers’ accounts, but we acknowledge that there are still customers that need their accounts fixed and their problems resolved.

 

We know how important our cards are to people who use them to conduct their daily lives. We apologize for the inconveniences and for the hardships that many of our customers are currently facing.

 

We will stay in regular contact with our customers until these matters are fully resolved. You can visit us on Facebook or twitter @RushCard for additional and consistent updates. 

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TMZ: Lamar Odom is fighting for his life after falling into unconsciousness at Dennis Hof’s Love Ranch South in Pahrump, Nevada … TMZ Sports has learned.

Sources at the Love Ranch tell us … 35-year-old Odom arrived at the Ranch Saturday and was partying with the girls for days.   A source at the Ranch said Lamar was taking an herbal substitute for Viagra.

We spoke with Hof  … who tells us Tuesday afternoon, a woman went into Odom’s room in the VIP suites and found him unconscious. 

We’re told the woman began screaming for the manager — who called 911. 

The manager rolled Lamar over on his side and saw “mucus-type liquid coming out of his nose and mouth.”

An ambulance took Lamar to Pahrump hospital, where doctors intubated him … an indication he could not breathe on his own.

We’re told Lamar is being airlifted from the hospital to Las Vegas for more treatment.

Our sources tell us, “It’s not good.” 

We’re told Lamar had been partying at the ranch by himself — with no friends or entourage — and is now alone at the hospital. 

The ranch staff says they want to be in the room with Lamar but since they’re not family they’re not allowed. 

Story developing … 

HPOU OUT IN THE COMMUNITY!

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If you thought all police officers in Houston just police the community then you’re wrong.

Members of the Houston Police Officers’ Union went deep into the community Tuesday with sweet cool treats.

Members of the organization handed out free sno cones to kids at 5900 Selinsky.

Doug Griffith with HPOU says it was the idea of a board member and they jumped on the plan.

The kids who received the free cones also jumped on the cold refreshment.

We’re told at least 800 sno cones were handed out!

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THE FEDORA FELON IS ON THE RUN!

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The FBI Violent Crime Task Force needs the public’s help to track down the bank robber who robbed the First Convenience Bank inside the Kroger at 1990 Old Spanish Trail in Houston, Texas, on Monday. The robber dressed up for the crime—wearing a white dress shirt, black blazer, and a black fedora hat during the robbery. Crime Stoppers of Houston is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identity and arrest of the “Fedora Felon”.

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At 9:57 a.m., the robber entered the bank and handed a teller a threatening note demanding money. Fearing for their life, the teller placed some cash on top of a black bag the robber brought with him. No weapon was seen by witnesses, and no one was physically hurt during the robbery. The Fedora Felon is described as a black male, 25-30 years old, 6’1”-6’2” tall, 190-200 pounds, with a light brown complexion. He wore a white, collarless dress shirt; black blazer; black fedora hat; and black sunglasses with a gold emblem on the arm of the glasses.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and arrest of this robber. If you have information about this case, please call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 713-222-TIPS (8477) or the Houston office of the FBI at 713-693-5000. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visit www.crime-stoppers.org. Tips may also be submitted to Crime Stoppers through the Crime Stoppers of Houston app, which can be downloaded for both iPhone and Android devices. All tipsters remain anonymous.

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Homeowners in the Houston Independent School District won’t see an increase in property tax rates for the 2015-2016 school year under a proposal being submitted Thursday to the Board of Education.

 

District administrators are asking trustees to maintain the current tax rate of $1.1967 per $100 taxable value. That rate includes two parts: $1.0267 dedicated to funding general maintenance and operations and 17 cents earmarked for debt service.

 

Trustees approved a $1.864 billion budget for the 2015-2016 school year in June. The district can fund that budget and continue to make debt payments without a tax rate increase because of increasing property values throughout the city. As property values rise the district receives more local property tax revenue. However, there is an offset to state revenue in the maintenance and operations fund; the debt service receives the increase in local taxes.

 
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If approved, HISD will once again have the lowest school tax rate in Harris County.

 

Additionally, HISD will continue offering a local homestead exemption, which goes above and beyond the state mandated exemption. This year, the state Legislature raised the mandated homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000 through Senate Bill 1, which is subject to voter approval in November. In addition to the state’s mandated exemption, HISD homeowners claiming a homestead exemption take an additional 20 percent off the appraised value of their property, the highest homestead exemption allowed by the state.

 

Last year, this local homestead exemption saved HISD homeowners more than $150 million in property taxes. That is an additional annual savings of about $649 for the owner of a $271,295 home, which is the average home value in HISD.

 

The board’s regular monthly meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in the board auditorium of the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th Street. Click here to view the full agenda. The board meeting will be broadcast live online at www.hisdtv.org. 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER!

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The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding Texans in advance of the upcoming November election that Election Identification Certificates (EIC) are available year-round at all Texas driver license offices for individuals in need of proper identification required to vote. DPS will be deploying mobile stations to various locations across Texas; and alternate approved locations will be issuing EICs in select counties. Additionally, select driver license offices will be open on Saturday, Oct. 24, to issue EICs only.

 

The 2015 Constitutional Amendment Election in Texas is November 3, with early voting from October 19-30.

 

Texans can obtain an EIC at:

Any of the more than 220 Texas driver license offices during regular business hours throughout the yearSelect driver license offices on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (EIC transactions only)EIC mobile station locations (EIC transactions only)Alternate approved locations issuing only EICs in select counties

 

Most residents already have an acceptable form of photo identification needed for voting and will not need or qualify for an EIC. If an applicant already has any of the following documents, they are not eligible to receive an EIC:

 

Texas driver license – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of votingTexas personal identification card – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of votingU.S. passport book or card – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of votingTexas concealed handgun license – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of votingU.S. Military identification with photo – unexpired or expired no longer than 60 days at the time of votingU.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo

 

To apply for an EIC, applicants must visit one of the locations listed above and complete anapplication for a Texas Election Identification Certificate (DL-14C).  (For the Spanish language version of the EIC application, seehttp://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/forms/DL-14CS.pdf).

 

To qualify for an EIC, an applicant must:

Bring documentation to verify U.S. citizenship and IdentityBe eligible to vote in Texas (Bring a valid voter registration card or submit a voter registration application through the Texas Department of Public Safety)  Be a Texas residentBe 17 years and 10 months or older

 

To avoid delays or complications, DPS urges potential applicants to make sure they have the necessary documentation before arriving at the office, mobile station or alternate approved location.

 

The EIC receipt an individual receives will include their photo and can be used for votinguntil the permanent card is delivered by mail.

 

The EIC is free of charge to qualifying applicants and is valid for six years. There is no expiration date for an EIC for citizens 70 years of age or older. The EIC can only be used for the purpose of voting in an election and may not be used as personal identification.

 

For more information on the requirements, exemptions and process for obtaining an EIC, please visit: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/electionID.htm.

 

For more information on voting in Texas, visit the Secretary of State’s website:www.votetexas.gov.

 

CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS SAY THEY HAVE THEIR OWN BODY CAMERA POLICY FOR HPD!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Last week responding to City Council pressure the Houston Police Department proposed a hastily put together body camera policy without public input full of loopholes to transparency and accountability.  Local community and civil rights groups will present a transparent, accountable body camera policy October 13, 2015 at the Houston City Council public meeting. A coalition of 26 community and civil rights group has passed a resolution on police body cameras which protects the public. See attached.

“The City must have input from the stakeholders in formulating the body camera policy,” said Councilmember C. O. Bradford.

“Although the city of Houston has allocated moneys for the purchase of body cameras, HPD continues to drag their feet under the excuse of waiting for the technology to improve!  Body camera technology is mature and reliable at this time and numerous cities, counties, and municipalities across the USA are already using them. It is high time that HPD gets serious about purchasing and implementing body cameras with input from the community,” said Agustin Pinedo, Civil Rights Chair, Greater Houston LULAC Council, “To that end the GHCFJ is coming to City Council to provide input as to guidelines and policies that must be implemented to make body cameras tamper proof, and transparent.”

“Without a sound body camera policy it will be the same old secrecy that has kept video evidence of police use of force out of the public eye,” said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen, “Millions of public dollars will be spent and then the truth withheld from the public.”

“Even though I believe most Police Officers in this nation are good men and women, there is a rising level of distrust of Police all over this nation. Video after video of officer planting drugs, beating handcuffed citizens and shooting and killing unarmed citizens is taking its toll on the confidence that citizens used to have in police officer,” said former HPD police seargent and civil rights activist Shelby Stewart, “These incidents bring about what has happened in Baltimore, Ferguson, New York City, and Los Angeles.  There must be a credible, strong policy that deals with Body Cams, where people can have confidence that officers cant turn them off when they feel like it or not turn the camera on in order to violate a policy or law. That’s why sunshine is the greatest disinfectant.  The police department can’t hide video from the public and expect to maintain trust with the citizens. Transparency is what will make the citizens truly believe that the police department is here to protect and serve.”    

  

There will be a press conference with the Greater Houston Coalition For Justice and concerned community members will occur and then public speaking at the City Council meeting: 

 

DATE:         Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 1:00 P.M. (afterwards there will be public speaking at City Council meeting)

PLACE:       Lobby, 2nd Floor, Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby

HPD WANTS YOUR INPUT ON BODY CAMERAS!

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At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday (October 15), Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. and commanders will host a community meeting to answer questions and accept input on the department’s draft policy for outfitting all officers with body worn cameras.

The meeting will be held at the Moody Park Community Center at 3725 Fulton, Houston, TX, 77009.  Free parking is available.

HPD’s draft policy on use of body cameras is posted on the department’s website at www.houstonpolice.org.  Citizens can provide input by emailing their comments toHPD.Planning@houstonpolice.org thru October 26.

Chief McClelland speaks on the importance of citizens being informed on the body camera policy on the HPD YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr49YQuvwZA

The HPD began outfitting officers with body cameras in December 2013 when 100 cameras were purchased and distributed to officers in a pilot program. With much of the funding secured to purchase body cameras for all officers, HPD is aiming to roll out more cameras before the end of this year.

WHAT:     HPD to Host Meeting, Seek Input on Body Camera Policy

DATE:      Thursday  (October 15)

TIME:       6:30 p.m.

WHERE:   Mood Park Community Center, 3725 Fulton   (Key map 453-Y)

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New on Fox Chief Larry Johnson of the Prairie View Police Department has released the body camera video involving the arrest of City Councilman Jonathan Miller.

Miller’s arrest went viral after he was seen being tased on video by one of two police officers Thursday night in the small college town.

Miller maintains the officers used excessive force when he questioned them why the they asked his fraternity brothers for their identification during a stop at his Hargest Drive home this week.

Miller was jailed overnight after being charged with interfering with police and resisting arrest.

The 26 year old, who’s also a Waller County teacher, was released on his own recognizance Friday morning.

The police body camera video was released early Saturday morning by the police department.