On Tuesday, I took Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo to task over his grandstanding in the wake of the death of one of his police officers. The officer was killed while reporting to a domestic violence call. Acevedo almost immediately launched into a gun control tirade.
Of course, the more information we get, the more complicated the situation becomes, but that wasn’t really here nor there in the immediate aftermath. One of his own was dead and Acevedo wanted to use that to score political points.
The police union was less than thrilled.
On Monday afternoon, HPOU leaders sent a message to its members criticizing the chief, not just for the political statement but also the timing of the message.
“The fact that Chief Acevedo chose that moment to make a political statement on guns, is nothing short of offensive and inappropriate,” stated the HPOU Executive Board in a letter obtained by KHOU 11. “There is a time and place for every discussion and this was neither the time nor the place.”
Frankly, I agree.
Now, I’m not about to get on board with the whole “boyfriend loophole” thing because I can see a lot of potential problems here, especially since anyone can claim to be someone’s girlfriend. I’ve seen it happen and I suspect a number of you reading about this have as well.
That said, it’s a debate we need to have and continue to have. There’s no argument on that front. Acevedo, however, used the casket of his slain officer as a soapbox from which to launch his tirade.
However, a couple of targets of his rant were less than willing to just roll over and play dead.
A day later, Cruz and Cornyn shot back that the issue is more complicated than the police chief initially portrayed it.
Court records show Solis had a prior family-violence conviction, which should have blocked him from legally possessing a firearm. His family and defense attorney also claim he has a history of mental illness, which also could have barred him from legally buying a gun.
“It’s unfortunate the chief of police in Houston seems more focused on trying to advance his own political ambitions than on supporting the brave men and women of HPD,” Cruz said in a written statement. “The fact is that this killer was a criminal whom federal law already prohibited from having a gun.”
That is, of course, accurate. After all, in August of 2015, the killer was convicted of assaulting a family member and sentenced to 70 days in jail. That’s a domestic violence charge and should have been sufficient to keep him disarmed. (This was not noted in my post from yesterday where I focused on the lack of felony convictions. Frankly, as much as he’d been arrested, he probably should have gotten prosecuted for a felony as well.)
Acevedo, however, should have known all of this. He should have had this information well before his ill-informed comments. As a police chief, he also should have known that a domestic violence charge like assaulting a family member disqualified the killer from having a gun.
So why push the political narrative when he knew it had no bearing on the matter? Because Acevedo is a wannabe politician who believes he can do whatever he wants to advance gun control. He’s not a law enforcement officer at his core, he’s an activist with a badge.
That’s the last thing Houston and the Houston Police Department need at this particular moment.