In wake of threat, HPD officers union calling for change

Jessica Willey Image
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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HPD taking close look at social media post that allegedly implied the two NYPD officers killed on the job should be just the beginning

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Is it free speech or are they legitimate threats against police?

The Houston Police Department has looked at one social media post allegedly made by a Houston-area resident that implied the two New York Police Officers killed on the job should be just the beginning, calling it "revenge." The post on Facebook said "2 down, 49,000 to go. Not "an execution" just a minor insurrection and a bit of humble revenge."

Eyewitness News is not identifying the page. No one answered at the Kingwood townhome where neighbors say the man who posted the message lives.

"We need good policemen and for someone to take out two policemen because they're policeman, and someone's applauding saying there's thousands more we have to get is very disturbing to me, and I think a lot of people feel that way. I would like to put a muzzle on that guy," said one neighbor who asked not to be identified.

Houston Police Officers Union President Ray Hunt says this is not the first threat he's seen recently against Houston-area law enforcement, telling us, "On a scale of 1 to 10... it's a 10. We're very concerned."

As a result of this increased concern, HPOU has requested that Chief Charles McClelland require two officers to respond to all calls. HPD officers right now generally respond as single officer units.

Hunt says McClelland said he would leave any decision about staffing to individual district captains.

"We're hoping that each individual captain will see how serious this is and will pair those officers up," Hunt says.

Out of an abundance of caution, he's told officers to call for backup when responding to all calls.

The Houston Police Department says it has not changed its policies or procedures in relation to any threats. Spokesperson Jodi Silva says its 5,400 officers are "always trained to be vigilant."

Late Monday, HPD released this statement in response to the Facebook message, "This particular post appears to be solely anti-law enforcement rhetoric and constitutionally protected speech.

No specific threat was discerned in this post; however we remain vigilant and will review any similar items brought to our attention."

The Kingwood man, who claims to be a realtor, posted a much longer message and backtracked saying, "Do I wish every police officer dead? No."