Chief Hurtt supports possible lawsuit

January 22, 2009 3:53:29 PM PST
Houston police officers say they're strongly considering legal action against a man who said he was beaten during an arrest. And on Thursday, the police chief said those officers have his support. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The case centers around allegations from a suspect arrested back in November. Marvin Driver, father of NFL star Donald Driver, said he was beaten by HPD officers. But an internal investigation found no wrongdoing by the officers.

Police union officials met with Houston Police Department Chief Harold Hurtt on Wednesday about a possible course of action, which might include a lawsuit against Marvin Driver, as well as some others in this case.

Marvin Driver claims he was beaten by three Houston police officers after being arrested on outstanding warrants. Those officers were clearend afte a six-week internal investigation.

HPD investigators concluded there wasn't enough evidence to substantiate those allegations. The Harris County DA's office is now investigating Driver and others for perjury. It could be months, if not longer before the case goes to a grand jury.

While Chief Hurtt stopped short of saying he was angry at citizens who make false accusations against police, he did say it's a waste of time and creates ill feelings between the community and the police department. He believes the officers in this case have a right to protect their reputations.

"I think the officers have the same civil rights just like everyone else and if they wanted to use that method and feel they've been wronged by people within the general public, I certainly support their right to do so," said Chief Hurtt.

With regards to a possible lawsuit, Houston Police Officers Union President Gary Blankenship told us, "The union is prepared to devote all of its resources to vindicating the names and reputations of these officers who were falsely accused and will hold accountable those who defamed these officers."

Community activist Quanell X responded by saying, "If they are going to file a lawsuit, I have no problem responding if I am named in it. Doing so now would be premature."

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