Eight Houston police detectives have been disciplined for failing to investigate properly more than two-dozen homicide cases spanning almost a decade, says the Houston Chronicle. The victims were as young as 11 months old. They were nearly all black or Hispanic. They were walking along the sidewalk or answering the door when they were killed. When news of the shocking oversight became public in April, Police Chief Charles McClelland apologized and said the problem had been fixed. That was of little comfort to the families of the victims, who were not mentioned by name. Their identities and the sketchy details surrounding their deaths are laid out in offense reports obtained by the Chronicle.
Sixteen of the cases were assigned to Sgt. Ryan Chandler, a 14-year veteran once thought to be an up-and-comer. In some cases sent his way, he did a perfunctory amount of work and in some almost nothing. However little he did, supervisors typically failed to notice. An internal affairs investigation led to Chandler’s termination and suspensions or reprimands for seven other officers this year. The probe revealed investigators and supervisors shirking the most basic requirements of police work: failing to show up at crime scenes, misplacing key evidence, not attempting to interview witnesses or follow up on tips. Relatives of the victims remain shocked and angered that two or more years after the killings there is little in the way of meaningful progress. Some are skeptical that killers will be found or that prosecutions will ever take place.