Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

HPD goes Ghost-Busting

When they’re not putting the hurt on local musicians, Houston’s very own thin blue line is busy catching ghosts. Phenomena Police, a new series on Court TV features Houston police officers plying their trade in an effort to explain paranormal activity. The show premieres Tuesday October 31st (Halloween Night) on Court TV (that’s 71 to you Time Warner folks).

Harry and Lesli Zamora conceived of the Phenomena Police when they began experiencing strange unexplainable activity in the house they had just moved into. Harry, a veteran police officer, convinced some of his co-workers to help him figure out what was happening.

Houston Police Officer Involved in ‘Melee’ with Concertgoers

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An HPD Officer responded to a noise complaint Friday at local music venue, Walter’s. Why there was a noise complaint against a concert venue I don’t know, but after the Officer arrived things just went wrong. No matter how you look at it, someone did something they weren’t supposed to do and things got out of hand.

You can read various accounts of the story in different places, but here’s the long story short:

The Two Gallants were playing a show at Walter’s when the Officer arrives and asks the sound guy to turn it down. Officer says they turn it back up as he’s walking out. The Officer heads to the stage and tells the band to leave. Forceful words are exchanged, Officer grabs the guitar and says Stephens (Lead Singer) shoves him. Stephens denies doing that. Either way, the Officer decides that Stephens needs to be dealt with and takes him down by the neck. Everyone flips out and is trying to cool the situation down and/or screaming. The officer then chases a guy with a camera around the club and ends up tasering Stephens, a college student and a 14 year old boy in “self defense” and arrests 6 people. You can see at least part of that whole thing for yourself after the cut.

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Regulars and ex-employees claim that Officer Rodriguez came around regularly with “a chip on his shoulder.” Nonetheless, local media outlets are selling the story that the officer was attacked by dozens of people and bravely fought off a drunken mob. Tasering people repeatedly is probably an appropriate response to that kind of violence, but its pretty easy to see for yourself that that’s not what really happened.

No matter how you look at it, things could have been dealt with better. I think that the Officer made a poor judgment call and that some levelheadedness might have been a good thing. Oh yeah, and he probably shouldn’t just taser people. After all, this was just a noise complaint.

I should remind readers that the Officer acted alone and this shouldn’t be seen as the action of Houston Police Officers in general. Nevermind that HPD’s Sgt. McDuell. says that the “officer’s approach was commendable.”

Anyway, read more to see the videos of the incident. I’ve heard that the officers were destroying evidence confiscating cameras, so there’s probably more pictures and video out there we can’t see.
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Most popular vehicles to steal in Houston

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The Houston Chronicle published a list of the “Top 10” most stolen vehicles in Houston. Trucks lead off the top three (1) Ford (2) Chevrolet and (3) Dodge. Finding your vehicle on the list could be either good or bad depending on how you look at it. You’d never want to go through the ordeal yourself, but it’s nice to know that it’s in demand.

Dogs and the evil of Humanity

So I like dogs. Probably too much. It’s work not to take in all the sad cases.

But I don’t like people. Well some people. Like the jerk who drove through my Mother-In-Law’s subdivision and tossed a 6ish year old hound (that had recently had a litter) out of their truck. Missing teeth, bloody nose tossed.

Fortunately for the dog, my wife was heading over there on an errand which caused the poor little gal to avoid a trip to the death row of BARC. I hate going to BARC because it is miserably depressing to see that there are four rooms of dogs and one is always empty.

We do a crappy job in this town dealing with our pets. Mostly because a bunch of us are pretty durn irresponsible and sometimes downright cruel. Also unbelievably irresponsible and not deserving of adulthood rights.

I wish the people in this town who think dumping dogs that just had litters out of moving vehicles is okay would get spayed and neutered. They don’t do much for our species.

Yates found Not-Guilty by reason of insanity

A jury returned a verdict of not-guilty by reason of insanity in the Andrea Yates case today. Yates had previously been convicted and sentenced to life for drowning her five children in a bathtub in 2001. That verdict was overturned based on false testimony given by prosecution witness Dr. Park Dietz. I had an opportunity to speak with defense counsel George Parnham a few years ago, just after the initial verdict, and was convinced then that Yates was clearly insane at the time of the killings, and that it was unlikely that she would ever be cured by treatment. Given the nature of the killings and the narrow treatment texas law gives the insanity defense, I hardly would have considered todays outcome likely. The reactions I’ve seen so far have been all over the spectrum. Fair outcome, given the circumstances? Comments are open.

Houston Chronicle: Jury Finds Yates Insane, Not Guilty. blogger reaction.

Quick Question

Is there a place (or are there places) in Houston for recycling computer monitors and large quantities of paper? I ask because I have been in the market for a new monitor and wanted to NOT toss away my perfectly good old one.

The other part of my question stems for the massive amount of paper waste my office generates. Even though we’re less than 20 people, we produce a lot of waste… yet I can’t find a paper recycling place in Houston (especially SE Houston).

Wassup wit dat yo?

Hello! Crime is bad, mmkay?

So, hello.

I’d like to start out by being uplifting and cheerful, but instead of that, I’m going to ramble about the thing most on my mind.

Crime.

Smarter people than I can determine what percentage of our recent surge in home invasions, shootings and other media-ready events can be attributed to some of the less than the nice elements visiting our fair city after storms destroyed their other criminal turf. As a father and husband who is the one who locks the house up at night and whose path to the front door includes collecting a baseball bat, I spend a lot of my free time thinking of what I can do to ensure the safety of my clan.

In my single days, even though I lived in a rougher neighborhood, I had more and larger dogs and I kept a shotgun next to the bed with a round chambered. While this was admittedly a risky practice, the fact that I lived alone balanced out that risk. When I got married a few years back and bought the current residence, I took more appropriate safety measures to keep the guns out of the reach of kidlets. In the event I have, say 3-5 seconds from door destruction to meeting some uninvited guests, the odds are I’m going to be stepping up to bat rather than meeting them at High Noon.

And that, frankly, isn’t an optimum strategy for taking on a number of armed people likely to be significantly more numerous than I am. So, of course, I made a point to meet the constable who patrols our area, and I make sure the doors are locked. And I ordered a security system. But none of this gives me peace of mind.

Over the Christmas holiday, I proved my naturally superior intelligence by locking my keys in my car and needing assistance in getting the door open. As luck would have it, some of Houston’s finest were nearby and willing to help out. I took advantage of that to ask what we could do to improve security in Houston and I got a shockingly simple answer:

Hire more cops.

When a thousand or so officers take early retirement, it is hard to imagine how the police department can provide anywhere near the same level of policing, no matter how significant the overtime programs are. When an influx of new residents arrives with some percentage of shady characters and miscreants attached, simple math tells us that less police plus more criminals is going to increase crime.

I like parks. I really do. And nice summer activity programs. And I don’t mind it when city employees get legal bonuses they probably more than deserve. And I know the mayor likes his “we know better than you do” programs like Safe Clear and stoplight cameras. But there is one simple thing that can be done to improve this situation.

Hire more cops.

Keep Your Children Safe

This is not necessarily Houston-specific, but is a piece of valuable information that may make a difference.

Family Watchdog is a site I came across recently that gets data from state databases regarding registered sex offenders. Although this information has always been publicly available, Family Watchdog makes it easy to identify if there are any offenders in your area, and where they are located.

All you need to do is input your address and the site provides a map of your area with points designating where registered offenders live. Choosing any of the points gives you more detailed information, including a picture and name.

I highly recommend you check this out, even if you don’t have children. It’s always good to know if you may have convicts in your area, and this site simplifies the process.

Just got back from MFAH to see a movie and crash a wedding

So I went to MFAH to check out a movie called Killing Mad Dogs (also called “Sagkoshi”) and stumbled into Tony Sanchez’s son’s wedding. Tony may have been a conservative democrat, but he sure knows how to bankroll a party! At least three Rolls Royce’s were parked out front (none of them were rental and none of them were mine) and the decorations inside the main museum area were incredibly gorgeous. The flower arrangements were MASSIVE, only dwarfed by the live band plus small orchestra set up in the room.

I wandered around for a few seconds and was promptly approached by a security guard and two MFAH security people. I had to act stooped (very easy for me) and pretend I didn’t know where the MFAH movie theater was located. After which, I was verbally booted out of the upstairs area and directed downstairs to the basement. When it comes to causing problems, I have no self-control.

The movie was awesome. No, wait… it was awesome! Much better than that Sanchez/Jacobs wedding that was going on upstairs. I was so engrossed in the film, that I didn’t realize that the people sitting in front of me had left the movie early.

The film was shown as part of MFAH’s 13th annual Iranian Film Festival… which makes for an interesting paradox considering Iran’s current nuclear standoff with the rest of the world.

About the movie:
After a break of almost ten years, veteran director Bahram Beyzaie returns with a riveting suspense thriller.

The story is set just after the Iran-Iraq War and is about a woman named Golrokh (Mojdeh Shamsai), whose writing is banned in Iran and (thus) receives royalties for NOT writing, struggling to get her unfaithful husband out of prison.

After a lengthy stay in the country-side, Golrokh returns to Tehran, where her husband – whom she had left because she suspected infidelity – needs her help. His business partner has run off with a large sum of money and left him to take the blame. The only way to get her husband out of jail is to “buy back” the debt, a task that Golrokh takes on as her own.

What ensues is a journey that takes her to remote barns, dark cellars and misty building sites, where her quick wit and nerves of steel become her greatest assets.

About my post-movie food consumption:
After the movie, I stopped at House of Pies for waffles. No big story here… just thought I would mention the excellent waffles at House of Pies.

And Then There Were Six

So what are we going to do to rope some more partners into posting on the Houston Metroblog?

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