HPD review of suspended code lands charge for Turkey Leg Hut co-founder

Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Review of suspended code lands charge for Turkey Leg Hut co-founder
There have been at least 50 suspects charged as police revisit cases, including a misdemeanor charge against Turkey Leg Hut co-founder Lyndell Price.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Sources tell 13 Investigates that the Houston Police Department's Internal Affairs Division is recommending two current and four former officers be reprimanded for the use of a "suspended - lack of personnel" code.

The recommendations are still being reviewed by an Independent Police Oversight Board and the Administration Disciplinary Committee, so nothing is finalized yet.

In a statement released last week on X, formerly known as Twitter, HPD said it is addressing questions from the committee, which is reviewing the IAD investigation into the suspended code.

"This includes taking additional investigative steps, such as collecting statements and re-interviewing when necessary. This is how the process is intended to work," according to the HPD statement.

In the meantime, our investigative team has learned more about new charges filed as investigators continue to review the 260,000 incident reports that were sidelined due to lack of staff.

13 Investigates now knows at least 50 suspects have been charged as police revisit these cases, including a misdemeanor assault charge against Turkey Leg Hut co-founder Lyndell Price from an incident earlier this year.

Antonio Jackson said in late January he was having drinks at the Tipsy Lounge with two potential business associates, when all of a sudden he found himself in the middle of a bar brawl.

"He was on top of me, choking me outside the bar, and he was pushing my face down the concrete, which is the reason why I have the scar and stuff like that," Jackson said. "The next day I was in really severe pain with my knee, and then my face was really messed up."

Jackson said the incident also left him with tearing and spraining ligaments in his knee.

Antonio reported the incident to HPD a few days after it happened, but we're now learning his case was marked with the code that suspends a case because of a lack of personnel.

"I didn't know that it was suspended. I just thought that they were just not taking it seriously," he said.

A few weeks after the incident, HPD Chief Troy Finner ordered the suspended code to never be used again and for all 260,000-plus incident reports marked with it to be reviewed.

Jackson's case was assigned to an investigator and Price was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Price and his attorney have yet to comment after we reached out.

"I'm very relieved, just to know that something is being done about it, but I feel sorry for the other people that (do) not have the same fortune to have their cases and things being taken care of, but as for me, I feel fortunate that I'm one of the lucky ones that it was taken seriously."

13 Investigates has also learned two men have been charged with aggravated assault for shooting at a group attending a "13-year old's birthday party" in July of last year.

During the incident, there were "bullets striking one male" as well as multiple vehicles and residences hit, all while "10 children were present," according to court documents.

Those documents show the responding officers "detained and identified" the suspects, but they were let go.

The incident was labeled with the code, and nearly a year later charges have been filed.

HPD tells 13 Investigates the entire point of its review is to find out how a case like this one was ever marked with this code.

"I know they have a hard job and I know that they're understaffed. I am aware of that also, so I just think that hopefully they can do a better job of recruiting, getting more people on the force, hiring more people and training them to deal with these issues so as a citizen of Houston, we can be taken care of and the citizens can feel like they're being protected," Jackson said.

Since Chief Finner announced cases were suspended due to lack of staff, the Houston Police Officers' Union has been critical of HPD's Internal Affairs investigation into the code and says an outside agency should be doing that work.

On Monday, 13 Investigates obtained paperwork showing HPD's Internal Affairs has launched a new investigation into the union president Douglas Griffith.

The investigation into him centers on a letter Griffith sent to union members last week in which he called into question the validity of the investigation into the code.

When we asked about this new investigation centered on the union president on Monday, HPD said it can't comment on an ongoing internal investigation.

HPD is asking victims whose contact information has changed since the time of their report to call (713) 308-1180 or email specialvictimsreport@houstonpolice.org.

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