Chronicle's Rice digs deeper on HPD harassment lawsuit

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Yesterday, the Chronicle‘s Harvey Rice followed up with some excellent reporting on last week’s story about the HPD officer awarded $600,000 in a sexual harassment lawsuit:

A female police officer who won a $600,000 verdict in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city says command officials in the Houston Police Department have interfered with investigations into alleged officer misconduct, ignoring investigative findings.

“You’ve got assistant chiefs that abuse their powers and influence the outcome of these investigations, and that is corrupt to me,” said Beth Kreuzer. “That’s not sending a good message.”

Her allegations were supported by other officers, who asked that their names not be used for fear of retaliation.

Rice goes on to cite officers who claim HPD brass manipulates internal affairs investigations. The story should be read in its entirety.

Today, Rice continued with a report that a male sergeant who supported Kreuzer is also suing HPD:

After a jury awarded a female police officer $600,000 in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit last week, the city now faces a lawsuit by a male sergeant claiming police brass retaliated against him because he backed the female officer.

The lawsuit by former police Sgt. Michael Cox accuses police department command staff of manipulating an investigation and firing him when he refused to waive his right to sue.

Cox, 59, a 34-year veteran, accuses command staff in 2003 under then-Chief Clarence Bradford of encouraging a misconduct complaint because Cox and another sergeant supported allegations that officer Beth Kreuzer, 41, was being sexually harassed by her supervisor on the motorcycle unit, known as “Solo.”

Again, the story should be read in its entirety. We’d like to see more journalism like this in the metro section, on all aspects of municipal government and operations.

We’re guessing if Chief Hurtt can tear himself away from priorities like tasers and red light cameras long enough to consider these criticisms of HPD’s internal affairs division, he won’t be bringing in the Lee Brown/Clarence Bradford consulting firm to help him sort things out.

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