HPD chief suspended for one day after auto-pedestrian accident

Mayor Annise Parker has handed down a one-day suspension to Chief Charles McClelland after he accidentally struck a pedestrian with his car earlier this month.
September 20, 2013 3:05:14 AM PDT
Mayor Annise Parker has handed down a one-day suspension to Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland after he accidentally struck a pedestrian with his car earlier this month.

He declined an on-camera interview but did let us document his broken right arm. James Harris, the man McClelland hit in downtown with his city-issued vehicle on September 4, told us the chief was apologetic.

Chief McClelland says an investigation has found him at fault, and as a result, he will be taking defensive driving and has agreed to take a one-day suspension without pay.

"I hold myself to a higher standard," McClelland said.

According to an HPD spokesman, McClelland wasn't issued a traffic citation because it would have been considered a double punishment to be disciplined through the police department and get a citation. However, the spokesperson said the incident will be reflected in the chief's driving record, and the financial consequences of his one-day suspension exceed that of a failure-to-yield ticket.

"I'm going to receive a day off without pay. That day off without pay may be 10 times more than the max that I could receive from a citation," McClelland said.

Harris, the victim, didn't seem too upset that the chief didn't get a ticket saying, "That's for the city to judge."

In a letter to the chief, Parker pointed out, "While a similar accident, if committed by another member of the Houston Police Department, would result in lesser discipline, as chief of police you are held out as an example."

McClelland says he has pledged to be more cautious and attentive. The chief says he will also ask officers to monitor those crossings during peak times.

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