HOUSTON -- The disgraced former Houston Police Department sergeant Chief Charles McClelland called "lazy" and a "liar" finally told his side of the story before an independent arbitrator.
Ryan Chandler was fired for failing to investigate more than a dozen homicides. But Chandler says there's more to the story. He says he didn't deserve to get fired.
"I didn't wake up in the morning thinking, let's see who I can pull wool over today," said Chandler. "I didn't wake up thinking let's see which cases I can ignore today."
Chandler says there are serious problems within the division including a lack of guidance from supervisors. Problems he believes crippled how he did his job.
"It reached a point of critical mass where I had so many cases," said Chandler. "The one that I originally got, it was impossible to get back to that one. From there it turned into a snowball effect."
The former sergeant says he was overworked, burdened with an unreasonable case load. HPD's witnesses told the arbitrator that homicide detectives now get 3.5 cases a year. Chandler refuted that documenting at least 92 cases on his plate in five years.
"Could I have been more efficient, most likely, absolutely," he said. "But I was doing my best with what I had to work with. There was just no way to catch up. That's why I asked my supervisor to be taken out of rotation."
HPD maintains Chandler was the problem citing poor and sloppy police work, including 20 homicide cases that he failed to properly investigate for years.
"They weren't finished," said Sgt. John Bertolini, of the Major Offenders Investigation Division. "There weren't complete cases. There was negligence."
Perhaps more importantly, HPD attorneys say Chandler failed the families of Houston murder victims and damaged HPD Homicide's reputation. It's a charge Chandler finally addressed Tuesday afternoon.
"I don't want to give the impression that I am not concerned about these cases," said Chandler. "I know just as well as anyone else that everyone of these cases represents a grieving family. I feel as upset as anyone and I want to give these people, these families the closure as much as anybody."
The hearing wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon. The arbitrator will decide whether Chandler gets his badge back within 2-3 weeks.