A video that appears to show a Cleveland police officer pounding the abdomen of a subdued man that has already been handcuffed during a December 30, 2011 traffic stop is one more reminder of the kind of problems Cleveland has had for over twenty years.
The Cleveland Advocate posted a video on their website Thursday January the 26th showing Officer Paul Lowrey on a Cleveland Police Department dash cam hitting a handcuffed man in his midsection with a flashlight and then hollering at him to “do what he is (f**king) told to do.” Vanesa Brashier, the editor of paper, broke this story and reported that this case is currently under review. This story is worth reading and details of her story can be found at http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/cleveland/.
It is important for the traditional media to report stories like this rather than stay silent like the police chiefs and sheriff might hope… even if some might misinterpret it and rather than recognize them doing their job try and label them as anti-law enforcement. It clearly is part of their duty as professional journalists to report the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is plenty of good professional law enforcement and, if the facts of this case are what they seem to be, this is an opportunity to help purge the Cleveland Police Department of one of the few people that needs to find another line of work and to let the public know that high standards of behavior are being upheld.
The Cleveland Police Department and the community of Cleveland have been in bad need of positive change for many many years. The community’s faith and respect for law enforcement can only be healthy when they see unbiased investigation and appropriate action in matters like this. Though the Cleveland community is made up of many of the kind of wonderful people southeast Texas is famous for, their southern hospitality and neighborly country living is often overshadowed by a reputation for uncontrollable crime and scandals. The good people of Cleveland should not rest until changes are made and Cleveland’s potential is reached.
The most recent scandal was made more widely infamous by both local and Houston news media and federal agents. Former Cleveland PD Assistant Police Chief and current Liberty County Sheriff Henry Patterson and his sidekick in the Cleveland PD, Harry Kelly, both had keys to the room where evidence was kept in the CPD. Months and months of investigation in search of the facts surrounding hundreds of missing guns from that evidence room were the subject of many news stories and many rumors all around the county. When this case went to criminal court Patterson had already defeated Greg Arthur in the sheriff’s race; and Kelly had already been serving as one of his captains. Kelly is now serving time in the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. With federal agents not being able to prove Patterson’s role in court, if he had any, he continues to serve as Liberty County Sheriff.
And Cleveland continues to have the same reputation. A community full of wonderful people, located in the beautiful pines near all of the things the big city offers, but still having the advantages of country living. Our hats are off to Vanesa Brashier for reporting this story, and our hopes are that the Cleveland PD, outside of any potential lawsuits, will start holding their officers to the highest of standards and fearlessly helping create a culture worthy of its citizens. It is a dangerous job that there is never enough compensation or enough praise and we salute the men and women who do it and perhaps sometimes feel the sting of criticism aimed at a few. You are our modern day heroes. Our goal is to support you and to give you the best leadership and the tools you need to have to do your job safely and with excellence.