3 councilmen back decision to fire officers
November 02, 1998, 11:06 p.m.
By MATT SCHWARTZ Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle
Three Houston city councilmen said Monday they fully support Police Chief C.O. Bradford's decision to fire the six officers involved in the shooting death of Pedro Oregon Navarro.
"Certainly, the grand jury may not have yet found those officers guilty of violating the law," said John Castillo, "but they certainly violated law-enforcement procedures. No search warrant, no probable cause.
"Maybe we need to train officers more vigorously under those kinds of circumstances. You get a chance to get it right one time."
Just last week, Castillo noted, police fired more than 50 bullets in killing a man after a chase. The man, later reported to be mentally debilitated from a 1994 car crash, was shot when he got out of a vehicle holding something shiny. The object was later determined to be a can opener.
"Maybe we're spending too much time on pomp and circumstance and not enough on the meat and potatoes of the proper use of deadly force," Castillo said.
Councilman Orlando Sanchez, who recently joined with Castillo and three other council members in calling for a federal investigation of the Oregon case, echoed Castillo's call for more training.
"If policies are being circumvented, it may indicate a problem with training," he said. "If department policy is not followed, people's lives are at stake."
Councilman Joe Roach said he also supports Bradford's action.
"Serious police misconduct must be dealt with swiftly and harshly," Roach said. "Our city must not tolerate improper police behavior. That message has now been sent loud and clear."
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