HOUSTON — The Houston police union president says he has received tons of support from around the country, for his controversial comments. He also acknowledged the criticism.
Joe Gamaldi is known as a fire-brand. Last night, hours after four officers were shot serving a search warrant, he said, “If you’re the ones out there speaking the rhetoric that police officers are the enemy, just know that we’ve got your numbers. We’re gonna be keeping track of all ya’ll guys.”
Today, he is standing firm that it’s becoming more and more of a dangerous climate for law enforcement to do their jobs.
“It could be the activists in recent years that decided they want to stir up every single use-of-force incident, even though it’s overwhelmingly justified in every single case,” Gamaldi tells KHOU.
At a heated city council meeting Tuesday, activists called on council members to condemn Gamaldi’s words, saying they had a right to speak their minds. Council and Mayor Turner avoided the controversy saying they were only focused on the wounded officers and their recoveries.
On social media, Gamaldi’s comments drew both praise and disgust.
“People can create their own faux outrage whenever they choose to, but the fact of the matter is, we’re gonna hold ya’ll accountable,” Gamaldi responded.
Gamaldi is calling on leaders in law enforcement to use social media and other platforms, to confront activists about “false narratives” about police.
Ashton Woods, an organizer of Black Lives Matter Houston, says the group doesn’t advocate violence and the controversy won’t stop activists from speaking out about cases of alleged police brutality. He says he worries that Gamaldi’s remarks will create deeper divides.
“It looks like police are trying to get aggressive and using this as an excuse to clamp down on black and brown communities, where there’s a problem with policing in the first place,” says Woods.