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Resource ID: #24167
Subject: Law Enforcement
Source: KHOU-TV (Houston)
Affiliation: 
Date: 08/11/2008; 08/12/2008

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Description

"We're coming after you." That was the Houston Police Chief's message to thieves when he launched the elite, $5 million a year Crime Reduction Unit. The problem? Some of the department's own officers alleged "we're coming after you" meant violating citizens' rights and search and seizure laws to build flimsy cases and rack up arrest numbers that ultimately did little to fight crime. KHOU-TV identified how CRU officers routinely stopped, handcuffed and interrogated citizens for petty infractions such as jaywalking or riding a bicycle without a light. The vast majority of the time these citizens were let go, but if police did make an arrest, it was usually for trace levels of drugs, which often resulted in plea bargain prosecutions for minimal jail sentences. One veteran defense attorney described the CRU as nothing more than "a mill to get convictions."

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