Two file suit against HPD officer

April 28, 2011 4:48:09 PM PDT
There are more problems for the Houston Police Department. Two citizens have filed separate lawsuits against Officer Brenton Green claiming excessive force. The two men who have filed suit say their lives have been changed forever. It's the third time this week that a Houston police officer's conduct has come under fire and it raises the question, is the police department suffering from an image problem and can it handle any more trouble?

Plaintiff Michael Young said, "I'm still trying to figure out why I was attacked."

Attacked, he says, with a nightstick by a Houston police officer. Former University of Houston basketball star Michael Young says it happened last year, two days before Christmas outside a busy shoe store, while he was helping his son navigate through the crowd.

"He tried to put cuffs on me," Young recalled. "When he couldn't put cuffs on me, he walked away from me and told me that he would kill me."

While Young is now taking legal action against Houston Police Officer Brenton Green claiming excessive force, he's not the only one suing him.

Plaintiff Steven Guidry said, "Right now the injuries I've incurred, it's making it difficult for me to breathe."

Guidry says the same Houston police officer shot him in the back of the neck for no reason during a traffic stop last year. Green claimed Guidry was uncooperative and when the two struggled it appeared Guidry was reaching for a weapon.

"They confiscated my truck, my clothes in my possession and found no weapon or contraband or anything," Guidry recalled.

These lawsuits mark the third time this week that a Houston police officer's conduct has been called into question. There's Officer Ryan Gardiner -- an autopsy revealed he shot John Barnes six times in the back -- and Houston Police Sergeant Ruben Trejo was charged with DWI after hitting a school bus while driving to work. The police department is now investigating whether his fellow officers tried to cover it up.

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said, "It concerns me anytime that we have anyone that's being accused of police misconduct."

But Chief McClelland doesn't believe the attention garnered by these incidents is leading the public to distrust the police. McClelland says violent crime is down, even as uncertainty grips the department over possible layoffs.

"They are not condoning inappropriate activity. They have full trust and confidence that the leadership of HPD is going to do the right thing," Chief McClelland said.

Officer Green remains on the force but his conduct is being investigated by HPD's internal affairs division. No charges have ever been filed against him. The city attorney told us he is aware of the lawsuit but hasn't been served and says he'll respond to the claims in court.

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