The letter calls for Mayor Sylvester Turner to consider implementing the 20-plus reforms over the next 90 days. They push for a restructuring of the Independent Police Oversight Board, increased scrutiny over previous police shootings as well as stricter reporting methods for future shootings and requiring a “duty to intervene” policy, among other policy changes.
With the addition of Plummer’s reforms, every black Houston City Council member has signed onto reform measures. The letter stated the council members, Tiffany Thomas, Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Edward Pollard, Jerry Davis and Martha Castex-Tatum, met with Houston Police Department leadership to discuss their goals.
"We even shared our unsavory personal experiences with law enforcement—some as recently as last year,” the letter read, referring to the meeting. “We also listened and learned about practices and policies that are in place within the Houston Police Department and those that are not.”
The council members followed a different tactic with the letter by requesting action from Turner and the police department within 90 days. Plummer instead proposed her reforms as amendments to the fiscal year 2020-21 budget, which will be voted on June 10. Budget amendments are subject to the mayor's review and revisions and must be backed by a majority of the council to be formally adopted.
While not specifically addressing Plummer's amendments, the Houston Police Officers Union published a letter June 5 supporting some calls for change, such as the release of body camera videos, and also stated that some reforms being discussed, such as de-escalation training and banning chokeholds, are already addressed in the department's policies and supported by the union.
The calls for reform came the day after a 60,000-person march honoring the life of Houston native George Floyd. Floyd grew up in Houston’s Third Ward and was killed in Minneapolis police custody May 25. A video of his death, as well as news of the two high-profile deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, both of whom were black, set off days of unrest throughout the U.S. beginning in late May.
View the full letter below.