HOUSTON - Mayor Sylvester Turner’s task force unveiled new recommendations Wednesday on how to improve relations with the Houston Police Department and the community. The task force was implemented in June after the death of Houston native George Floyd.
Turner’s task force of 45 members unveiled 104 recommendations for policing reform.
Travis Cains, one of Floyd’s closest friends, says he is content to see any changes being proposed to the police department. Cains thinks the recommendations from the task force are a step in the right direction for justice for Floyd.
The unveiling comes as Cains and Floyd's family prepare to debut another mural of George Floyd on the corner of Holman and Sampson in the Third Ward, steps away from where he grew up.
Cains says he and Floyd's family helped brainstorm the mural’s design and expect to debut the finished product sometime next week.
His hope is to never let his little brother’s memory be forgotten.
"We will continue trying to fight, continue to get justice for George Floyd."
Cains said the number one reform he’d like to see are changes to the way police are trained.
"More training, I think the academy needs to go on a little longer. Give them more training and also, stop them from doing all these military tactics," Cains said.
Task Force chair, Larry Payne, says reform is necessary in a post-George Floyd reality.
"Balance the power dynamics between the HPD and Houstonians by releasing body-worn camera footage of critical incidents in a consistent and timely manner, further restricting the use of force, treating people with due respect, and committing to fundamental transparency by releasing audit and performance data on a regular basis," said Payne.
The report also calls for HPD to publicly release body cam video within a month of critical incidents and recommends that the crisis intervention response team triples.
The report also wants to make it easier for the community to file complaints by creating an online submission form that’s easily accessible.
"Policing and policing reform is a total community effort, it must be back and supported by the whole community," Payne said.
The report also revealed that after a citywide survey with more than 7,000 responses, 83% of Houstonians from that survey would recommend some type of changes or improvements to HPD.
Turner said he will review every recommendation and make a decision accordingly.
"Now we're going to sit down, this administration along with council members and others and see what are these recommendations, why did they make these and what can we do moving forward," Turner said.
The 153-page report is available online.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo released a statement in response to the recommendations: "The Houston Police Department is committed to excellence in policing and organizational development. We appreciate Mayor Turner's leadership and the collective work of the Mayor's Task Force on Policing Reform. We strongly believe the success of the men and women of HPD depends on our ability to forge a strong partnership with the community we are committed to serve through the tenets of Relational Policing. We look forward to receiving the task force recommendations and thank the task force members for their thoughtful input."