Accountability for Private Police

The Houston Chronicle reports on a continuing story that just keeps getting more interesting. Back in August, the Rice University Police Department arrested an individual named Ivan Waller on suspicion of theft. Shortly thereafter, video shows officers beating him repeatedly and mercilessly with batons. Waller was unarmed and screamed out “Why [are] y’all beating me?”

The incident did not come to light until about a week ago, following the publication of a video of the incident by KPRC.  The tv station noted that the university was not cooperative in the slightest, refusing to comment or any way assist with the story. In fact, Rice noted that since its police department was a “private institution,” it was not obligated to cooperated. Please note that the incident in question occurred outside of Rice’s property/campus.

As the Chronicle article notes, this angered a powerful state lawmaker, John Whitmire, the Dean of the Senate and its Criminal Justice Committee chairman. Whitmire has asked both the Harris County DA’s office and the Texas Rangers to look into the matter, and has announced he will attempt to right this odious wrongs in the next legislative session.

Click here to read about Whitmire’s possible solutions!