Mayor says police reform comes next week, but assurances made before

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Last summer, 60,000 Houstonians marched through downtown Houston demanding change and seeking justice for George Floyd -- not just in Minneapolis where he was killed, but also in his hometown of Houston.

On Tuesday, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter for pinning Floyd to the pavement with his knee as he cried out more than a dozen times, "I can't breathe," and eventually stopped moving.

SEE ALSO: Derek Chauvin verdict: Jury finds ex-cop guilty of murder, manslaughter in George Floyd's death

At the time of his death on May 25, 2020, Houston city leaders said they embraced calls for justice. Then-Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo marched alongside demonstrators and said the push for reform wouldn't end at the march.

That week, Acevedo told 13 Investigates' Ted Oberg he was having urgent conversations with the district attorney about releasing more body camera video of officer-involved shootings.

"Is it time to show Houstonians more of how you come to your conclusion?" Oberg asked Acevedo on May 29, 2020.

"Well, absolutely. I've talked to the DA about it," Acevedo said. "We're going to come up with a plan here because I think that transparency breeds trust."

Weeks ago, newly sworn HPD Chief Troy Finner took office and pledged the same change.

SEE ALSO: New HPD chief says he's always thinking about what he can do better

"Look at the George Floyd incident, the one that sparked, one of the cases (that sparked calls for change)," Finner told Oberg on March 24. "Do we need to be more transparent? You bet. We need to be more transparent."

Despite the pledge for transparency, the city hasn't released videos in recent officer-involved shootings. Since Floyd died, there have been 21 HPD officer-involved shootings that resulted in eight deaths and seven injuries. It is not clear if HPD is at fault in any of those events.

In October, Mayor Sylvester Turner's task force on police reform announced a list of recommendations, which included the timely release of body camera videos. Despite those recommendations that video in officer-involved incidents be released within 30 days, the public has yet to see the video in those incidents.

On Tuesday, Turner said the public can expect "a number of announcements" related to the police reform task force next week.

"As a community, as a city, as a country, we have to work through this, because quite frankly we are all in this together, so let's just continue to work together to move forward," Turner said.

After Tuesday's verdict was read, Finner said it was not a day to celebrate, but rather a day of reflection.

"Sometimes justice takes a while, but it's going to get there," Finner said. "I want the City of Houston and everybody to stand up and make sure that we concentrate on those who are doing bad, police officers or criminals and make sure the good people come together."

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