HOUSTON – State and national lawmakers continue to push Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo for the release of an audit in the wake of the deadly botched Harding Street raid.
The internal review of the department’s narcotics division was ordered after the last year, which took the lives of husband and wife, Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas.
One of the few people to actually see a redacted copy of the audit is state Representative Gene Wu, a Democrat representing the 137th district.
“It is in the public’s absolute interest to know what’s going on with their own police department,” Wu said.
Wu, along with state Senator Paul Bettancourt, was one of a handful of lawmakers who obtained a copy through legislative privilege. They aren’t allowed to release the report’s findings but Wu says he’s seen no legitimate reason to keep the audit from the public.
And in a statement, the Houston Police Officers Union said, “The HPOU supports the release of the narcotics division audit so long as any ongoing investigation is redacted. The redaction is necessary to protect our officers and any informants.”
But Wu said that information is not in jeopardy.
“I have been a former prosecutor. I’ve looked through this report,” he said. “Even if knew what the redacted portions were I could not piece together individuals because everyone, even the undercover informants they’re listed by number.”
In a tweet Tuesday afternoon, Chief Acevedo said he would release the audit to the public if District Attorney Kim Ogg gave the okay. Acevedo added that as late as last week Ogg asked that the review not be released. That’s a claim the DA’s office continues to deny.
“We’re looking to Chief Acevedo to hold up and do what he has said that he is willing to do,” said Wu. “That is be transparent and be accountable to the public about what the police does.”
KPRC 2 called Chief Acevedo’s office earlier this evening and the chief says he stands by that tweet.
Representative Wu says he and other state lawmakers are considering proposing a bill that would require audits of public institutions, that are conducted with public funds in Texas, be released to the public.
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