Union might sue over Driver arrest

December 31, 2008 4:28:27 PM PST
Just one day after an investigation cleared three Houston police officers of assaulting the father of NFL player Donald Driver, the Houston Police Officers Union is standing firm on its promise to go after anyone they say made false accusations.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

"We feel it's time we hold people accountable," said Gary Blankinship, HPOU President.

Marvin Driver spent four days in the hospital last month. His family claimed he had been beaten by Houston police after he was arrested on outstanding traffic warrants.

"I don't know what it was that made them want to do what they did, but I do know that they hurt my brother," said Mary Ann Driver, sister of Marvin.

Those claims led to the three officers to be reassigned.

On Tuesday, HPD said in a statement that eyewitness accounts as well as medical records did not substantiate the claims. The officers were returned to duty.

"Where our issue is, is with the people that convicted these guys and dragged their name through the mud prior to a fair and impartial investigation," said Blankinship.

The union said it will seek both civil and criminal charges against those it claims made the false statements.

That's a stance that criminal attorney Randy Schaffer says may have bigger implications. "It has the potential to intimidate people from making legitimate complaints. And obviously everybody should want legitimate complaints to be made, both the police should want that and the citizenry," said Schaffer.

The union said its stance on Driver was tough because it was such a high-profile case and because of HPD rules, the officers were forbidden to talk. It is not ruling out, however, that the union will not pursue this course of action in the future.

"We're going to look at every case from now on and when people go out here and make false statements and defame officers' names? we're going to stand up and fight for the officers' rights and we're going to hold people accountable," said Blankinship.

Marvin Driver's attorney told Eyewitness News that Driver's statements have been consistent throughout the last month, and even though HPD's investigation is over, their fight is not.

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