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HPD only released two videos in police-involved shootings since body cam program began

Since the program launched, HPD shot and killed 37 people and wounded another 54, according to department records. Yet HPD publicly released body cam videos twice.

HOUSTON — A new Houston police body camera policy that pledges to release video within 30 days for officer-involved shootings that cause injury or death came with a familiar chorus from city leaders Thursday: transparency, transparency, transparency.

The same buzzword was used five years ago when the department officially rolled out body cameras.

But since the program was launched, Houston police shot and killed 37 people and wounded another 54, according to department records. Yet HPD publicly released body cam videos only twice, and only after protestors hit the streets demanding action.

In the first case in July 2016, police killed Alva Braziel but officers didn’t turn their cameras on in time to capture the shooting itself or the moments leading up to the deadly encounter.

“If it’s not turned on you don’t know what the truth is,” said his widow Nikki Braziel.

Four years and a new police chief later, HPD released body cam video in the shooting of Nicholas Chavez in September 2020, nearly five months after the incident.

Those delays should now be a thing of the past under HPD’s new policy.

“We want to be as transparent as we can,” Chief Troy Finner said Thursday.