Sugar Land, Missouri City police chiefs discuss policy, accountability in the wake of George Floyd's death

George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis in late May, was laid to rest nearly one month ago. However, local police departments continue evaluating practices and discussing the issue of racial injustice and police brutality in America.

When asked what changes in policing in general he thought were necessary, Missouri City Police Chief Mike Berezin said, “’I’ll leave that up to the lawmakers.” Berezin said Missouri City recently added a ban on chokeholds to policies. Under the ban, officers can only use chokeholds in instances where deadly use of force is authorized.

“I don’t condone murder anywhere, and [Floyd’s death was] a travesty,” Berezin said. “It’s a shame that anybody loses their life to a murderer, especially when the murderer is a person who wears a uniform and is expected to protect the public.”

As organizations and individuals across the country are calling for the defunding of police departments, Berezin said he feels funds—not from law enforcement budgets—need to be going toward addressing mental health challenges.

“All of those challenges have been dumped in the lap of law enforcement for way too long without funding,” he said. “So in the event that they decided to start funding mental health programs and social service programs, I’m all for it.”


Sugar Land Police Chief Eric Robins said, during a June 2 roundtable discussion with Fort Bend County Judge KP George, within police departments there has to be a strong sense of accountability. He also emphasized the importance of making sure individuals are cut out to do this job.

“We have to continue on and hold everyone—starting with the top—accountable for every action that we take,” Robins said. “There has to be a constant and consistent review of our policies, our procedures, and we have to keep evolving.”

Robins said there have been a lot of conversations within law enforcement about de-escalation—attempting to talk people down and control the situation instead of exciting the situation.

“I tip my hat off to a lot of police organizations on what they’re doing, but there’s still a lot of work that we can do,” Robins said. “I’m committed to continue to work with our community ... to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to build that trust.”

Berezin said, if any case like Floyd’s were to occur in Missouri City, he has no doubt another officer would have stepped in to save Floyd’s life.

“I guarantee you there’s not an officer here who would have stood by for more than a second if they saw that going on, especially when the man’s saying, ‘I can’t breathe,’” he said.
By Claire Shoop
Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.
By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.


MOST RECENT

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

With 93 new coronavirus cases reported in Fort Bend County July 10, there have been a total of 4,617 cases countywide. (Community Impact Staff)
Fort Bend County July 10 coronavirus updates: 93 new cases, record number of hospitalizations

With 93 new coronavirus cases reported in Fort Bend County July 10, there have been a total of 4,617 cases countywide.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

Texas Medical Center reports only 4% uptick in ICU bed use despite continued COVID-19 case increases

Compared to 1,350 total intensive care units in use June 30, Texas Medical Center has seen only a slight uptick in occupancies since then, with 1,394 reported July 9.

After an eight-year teaching career, Christine Nguyen started her own bakery business—The Sweet Boutique—in Sugar Land Town Square in 2011. (Courtesy Composure Studios)
Mochi doughnuts save The Sweet Boutique in Sugar Land during coronavirus pandemic

The Sweet Boutique’s mochi doughnuts have been attracting people from as far as The Woodlands and Galveston.

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments. (Source: Matt Frankel/Community Impact Newspaper)
Refinancing a home, police departments address protests: Popular news this week from Greater Houston

Read popular stories from the Greater Houston area on Community Impact Newspaper’s website.

Fort Bend ISD will present its plans for the 2020-21 school year, including several changes to the calendar, at the special called board of trustees meeting July 13. (Community Impact staff)
Fort Bend ISD to discuss plans, calendar for 2020-21 school year at July 13 meeting

Tune in to the July 13 Fort Bend ISD board of trustees meeting to see the district present its plans for the 2020-21 school year, including several changes to the calendar.

Four baseball teams, including the Sugar Land Skeeters, will compete in 56 games at Constellation Field this July and August. (Courtesy Sugar Land Skeeters)
Sugar Land Skeeters begin two-month summer league at Constellation Field on July 10

Four baseball teams, including the Sugar Land Skeeters, will compete in 56 games at Constellation Field this July and August.

Fort Bend County confirmed 111 new coronavirus cases and one death July 9. (Community Impact Staff)
With 111 new coronavirus cases July 9, Fort Bend County has seen 4,524 total cases since March

There are now more than eight cases of the coronavirus per every 1,000 Missouri City residents.

Effective July 9, hospitals in more than 100 counties across the state must now postpone elective surgeries unrelated to COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
MAP: Governor expands restrictions on elective surgeries to more than 100 Texas counties

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expanded the restrictions that initially required only hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to postpone all non-medically necessary surgeries and procedures that are unrelated to COVID-19.