Here's what we know about timeline of events leading up to Troy Finner's retirement from HPD

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Wednesday, May 8, 2024
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- We expect to hear more from Houston Mayor John Whitmire Wednesday following HPD Chief Troy Finner's abrupt retirement not even 24 hours earlier.

Finner's resignation comes amid an ongoing investigation into the police department's suspended cases.

At issue has been the use of a "Suspended: lack of personnel code" wrongfully assigned to cases, some of which were for violent crimes and sexual assault. It means those reports were not investigated.

READ MORE: 13 Investigates what's happened since HPD's 'suspended' code was identified as an issue a decade ago

ABC13 has covered the matter extensively, including how much the now-former police chief knew about the suspended cases and for how long.

Here is a timeline of everything we know so far.

2016: "Suspended: lack of personnel" code created.

March 2021: Finner was approved to become Houston's next police chief. He was handpicked by then - Mayor Sylvester Turner to replace Art Acevedo, who left to lead the Miami Police Department.

Nov. 2021: This is when Finner said he told his staff to stop using the code.

Feb. 7, 2024: Finner shared when he learned about the suspension of sexual assault cases due to lack of staff. A little more than a week later, the public learned that there are hundreds of thousands of suspended cases.

End of Feb. 2024: The police department assembled a team to investigate. The next day, a memo went out to stop using the code.

March 6, 2024: Whitmire announced an independent panel to review the cases. A week later, he named who would sit on that panel.

March 7, 2024: Two HPD assistant chiefs were demoted as the department investigated why 260,000 incidents were labeled suspended due to lack of personnel since 2016.

April 2024: HPD confirmed to 13 Investigates that more than 1,100 adult sexual assault incident reports had kits tested for DNA, with 76 resulting in a CODIS hit, meaning the DNA matches a profile already in the database.

May 7, 2024: 13 Investigates uncovered an email from 2018 referring to a road rage case showing Finner was aware that the "lack of personnel" code was being used then, which would also be three years before Finner publicly claimed he knew about it.

Just weeks after Whitmore was sworn in, ABC13 asked him whether Finner would be fired over the mishandling of cases.

"Are you going to fire the chief over this? No. It's way - I have confidence in Chief Finner. This is the same chief who, a month ago, our community was praising for being a leader. He is still a leader, but he can be better," Whitmire said.

On Wednesday, Whitmire briefly addressed Finner's resignation during the weekly city council meeting.

"I want to thank Chief Finner for his many years of public service. I'll have more to say probably in a press availability, as how this transpired. But it's my responsibility to provide public safety for all Houstonians. The decision was made," Whitmire said during the meeting, adding that he would be take questions later.

Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite will take on the role of acting Houston police chief.

MORE: 13 Investigates' extensive timeline on what's happened since HPD's 'suspended' code was identified as an issue a decade ago