In light of deputy's murder, HPD chief gets frank about state of country, crime

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Monday, August 31, 2015
HPD chief gets frank about state of country, crime
Chief Charles McClelland says officers need the support of the community, especially in light of Deputy Darren Goforth's murder.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland says being a police officer is a thankless job and they need the support of the community, especially in light of last week's execution of Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth.

"Some of the leaders that have in the past stood up very quickly when it came to police misconduct, their voices are silent," he told Eyewitness News in an interview Monday afternoon. "When you see someone who was callously murdered like Deputy Goforth, I don't know how you can't come forward."

McClelland joins Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman and District Attorney Devon Anderson is calling for a toning down of rhetoric, which they attributed to the Black Lives Matter movement in a press conference Saturday, just ahead of the arrest of Goforth's alleged killer, Shannon Miles.

"Yes," he said, "I do agree with the Sheriff, what the Sheriff has to say. And it's important that all lives matter."

He went on to discuss murders in the nation's fourth-largest city, saying that some 72 percent of homicides in the last year involved black suspects killing black victims. That, he said, is the real issue.

"Why is there not a tremendous outcry of young minority men killing young minority men?" he asked. "If young black men were dying from some other epidemic, health reason, there would be an outcry. But they're killing each other with firearms and no one seems to matter. It doesn't seem to matter and no one seems to care."

The chief is a member of the Major Cities Chief's Association, a group calling for a change in gun laws. They are not advocating a change to the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms, but rather what they characterize as common sense restrictions which could limit violent crime.

"There are many loopholes that we need to make some modifications to," he explained. "I support universal background checks. I support closing the gun show loophole. I support eliminating straw purchases."

He also said there need to be restrictions or prohibitions against those with diagnosed mental illness having access to guns.

And while he said none of those changes might have stopped the murder of Deputy Goforth, there is a community responsibility to curbing all violence.

"It's not all on law enforcement," he suggested. "We've got to be better parents. We've got to be better role models. We've got to be better educators. We've got to offer job opportunities. Job training. We do."