Did the mayor stop council's brutality discussion?

February 11, 2011 5:00:38 AM PST
On Thursday, we showed you a second video of alleged police brutality. Quanell X released the first one alleging a cover up of police abuse by Mayor Annise Parker, an accusation she denies. But we're putting Parker's actions at City Council this week In Focus, and asking why she squelched a conversation about police brutality.

Arlene Kelly's fought against what she sees as excessive police force for 11 years.

"I became more interested in police behavior after my daughter was killed," she said.

Her mentally ill daughter, Colleen, died in a confrontation with a Houston police officer in 1999.

"One shot killed her," Kelly said.

And when she saw the video of Chad Holley, she couldn't sit still.

"I was so angry," she said.

Kelly spoke to City Council Tuesday, hoping something would change.

"This is not an isolated incident," she told City Council on Tuesday.

And she wasn't an isolated voice.

"The problem is how very comfortable they were doing this in broad daylight, out in front of God and everybody. And my concern is what the mentality is of the police officers that are left," Houston Councilwoman Melissa Noriega said.

But that is about where it stopped. Parker shut the discussion down.

"Councilmember, respectfully," Parker said. "You have a fiduciary responsibility to the city to protect the city."

Parker, who's faced allegations of a cover-up since word of the Holley tape surfaced months ago, told council members they have a legal obligation to save the city money. And in her mind, talking about concerns of widespread police brutality in Houston could be used as evidence in pending lawsuits, so the mayor said, let's keep it out of the public chamber.

"We respectfully request that certain discussions be held with legal counsel out of this chamber," Parker said.

"That's absurd to me," Jones responded. "That is insanity to me."

The warning to keep quiet didn't sit well with Councilwoman Jolanda Jones. Jones told us there's another way to save taxpayer money in lawsuits.

"It is in the taxpayers' best interest for us not to go beating kids, and that's in the taxpayers' best interest," Jones said.

"It still speaks of a cover-up to me," Kelly said.

None of it was enough for Kelly, who stood at the podium Tuesday 11 years into her fight, now most of all fighting to get it out in the open.

"I've just kept watching and waiting to see something positive come of it, but they were squelched," Kelly said.

The incident at City Council was just a moment in a weeklong discussion we've had since the Holley videotape came out, but a moment we decided needed a little more inspection.

We asked mayor to provide her thoughts on it. She declined.