September 24, 2023

“Too Fast in SHouston, TX, Too Furious in Hazzard County”

First, I would like to begin by offering my condolences to ALL the families who have lost loved ones due to “Reckless” disregard for human life driving. Second, I would like to say, “Our Lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. I believe our “Elected Employees” especially, have been both deaf and mute to all things that affect us, while they are more concerned about losing endorsements than they are about their constituents losing their lives. Which is happening on an all too consistent basis, but with absolutely no representation.

Right has all ways been right and wrong has always been wrong. We should all know and believe that our lives matter just as much as the lives of law enforcement, celebrities, those with titles and certain positions, and elected employees. We often hear our city and law enforcement officials only mentioning wanting law enforcement to make it home safely. The prayer should be that “Everyone” leaves and return home safely, not just the officers. It’s unfortunate that all human life isn’t equally valued in “SHouston, Texas, Hazzard County.”

Throughout the years, many lives have been lost due to reckless driving, including the lives of law enforcement. The difference is law enforcement, and their loved ones have the full financial support of our local government and beyond. They have access to pensions, go fund me accounts, burial funds, insurance, etc. Additionally, whoever is deemed responsible for the injury and/or death of the officer, will be held accountable and face dire consequences for their actions.

In contrast, citizens who are injured and/or killed due to the recklessness of law enforcement don’t have the same support or access to such benefits nor do their loved ones. The only thing offered are condolences and I’m sorry which don’t pay any bills or burial cost for these victims and their families. There may be an initial report in the media outlets about the “incident.” Shortly thereafter, they are forgotten, and their stories are no longer newsworthy. Don’t’ want too much focus on the negligence of law enforcement.

In most cases, driving 20 mph or more above the posted speed limit, is regarded as “reckless”

driving. Therefore, reckless driving must be considered as reckless driving regardless of who’s behind the wheel. By law, citizens are required to purchase and maintain at the very least, liability auto insurance to cover the repair and/or replacement of other driver’s vehicle, medical and other expenses, when at fault. So, shouldn’t the City of SHouston, Hazzard County and its law enforcement agencies be held accountable for their recklessness, and their total disregard for human life? Where’s their liability insurance?

As if our city streets aren’t hazardous enough with having to dodge potholes and bullets. We

have to also worry about the reckless driving by law enforcement. Our neighborhoods have become sets straight out of action movies. But unfortunately, our citizens are the ones being involuntarily cast as the stunt actors and actresses. The individuals who are supposed to be protecting and serving are the same individuals who are recklessly driving, speeding, and swerving. They are expected to enforce the law, speed limits, city ordinances and policies to ensure “everyone’s” safety. Instead, they are doing just the opposite, without consequence. We’ve had too many fast and furious occurrences in our communities.

Innocent pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists are caught up in police chases. Many resulting in the loss of life of these individuals with no guarantee of suspect(s) being apprehended. The Houston Police Department (HPD) did revise the Chase Policy in 2018 because there were so many deaths caused by the recklessness of law enforcement and their disregard for human life.

Nonetheless, the policy still does not include the word safely enough nor does it emphasis the necessity of using common sense. Even though in the second paragraph of the policy it clearly states, “The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle shall drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and is responsible for the consequences of ‘Reckless’ disregard for the safety of others.”

Ironically, the “consequences” for the officers have been paid leave, job security, and No Bills Issued. Whereas the victims and their families are left with the obligation of making funeral arrangements, drafting obituaries, and having to pay plenty of bills. So, in essence, who is really bearing the consequences? At one point, it seemed as though HPD and Harris County Law enforcement were in competition to decide which agency could be the most reckless. On June 28, 2022, two officers from different agencies were No Billed on the exact same day even though, their reckless driving incidents were on different sides of town and occurred at different times.

On December 4, 2021, Mr. Michael Wayne Jackson, age sixty-two, was struck and killed by the

Houston Police while walking on a sidewalk in Sunnyside. He was a victim of a high-speed chase that he had absolutely nothing to do with. The officer wasn’t apart of the primary chase but, at all costs was willing to ignore the chase policy and seven traffic lights on Reed Road to endanger all lives in that area. The suspect didn’t hit Mr. Jackson, the officer did. Mr. Jackson’s life mattered just as much as officers who died in the line of duty mattered.

On January 12, 2022, Ms. Autrey Davis, was killed at twenty-two years of age, by Harris County

Sheriff Deputy while he was chasing a suspect that he didn’t apprehend while endangering the lives of others who had absolutely nothing to do with the chase. Autrey Davis, left behind two very young children in which her three-year-old son was fighting for his life after the incident. The suspect didn’t hit and kill Ms. Autrey Davis, the Sheriff Deputy did.

In both of these No Bill cases, both officers are alive and well but the victims of the “Reckless”

disregard for human life law enforcement driving are deceased. Both the city and county should be held accountable for these, and many other deaths caused by their recklessness both past and present. If the officers didn’t kill them, then who did? If the officers are driving too fast, then their immunity shouldn’t be qualified just like qualified immunity shouldn’t be justified, leaving families and taxpayers too furious. Live and let live has to be the only option for everyone involved.

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