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CITY OF HOUSTON Houston Police Department

Sylvester Turner, Mayor 1200 Travis Houston, Texas 77002-6000 713/308-1600

CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Brenda Stardig Jerry Davis Ellen R. Cohen Dwight A. Boykins Dave Martin Steve Le Greg Travis Karla Cisneros Robert Gallegos
Mike laster Martha Castex-Tatum Mike Knox David W, Robinson Michael Kubash Amanda K. Edwards Jack Christie CITY CONTROLLER: Chris B. Brown

February 14,2019 Act Acevedo


Chief of Police

The Honorable Ken Paxton


Texas Attorney General
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, Texas 78711-2548

Attention: Open Records Division

Re: Public Information Act request received on January 30, 2019, January 31, 2019,
and February 4, 2019 from Elena Arteaga, Cathy Tatom, Justin Pulliam, and Edge
Photography requesting dash camera and body-worn camera video; copy of
search warrant; search warrant affidavit; inventory of property; return of search
warrant; entire case file; and records regarding a confidential informant related to
incidents at 7815 Harding on January 8, 2019, January 27, 2019, and January 28,
2019; HPD incident numbers #12133719, 12086719, and 3426419. ORU Nos.
#19-01080, 19-01081, 19-01142 and 19-01200.

Dear General Paxton:

This is a follow-up to my letter dated February 12, 2019 (Exhibit 1). The Houston Police
Department (the "Department") received the above-referenced request on January 30, 2019,
January 31, 2019, and February 4, 2019 (Exhibit 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D). By copy of this letter,
the Department is informing the requestors that the Department believes responsive information
(Exhibit 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) are excepted from public disclosure under sections 552.108, 552.101,
and 552.152 of the Government Code. HPD notes that the responsive information is
voluminous; thus HPD has enclosed a representative sample (Exhibit 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) for your
General Ken Paxton February 14, 2019 2

consideration. See Open Records Decision Nos. 499 (1988) (the representative sample submitted
is truly representative of the requested records as a whole). The Department advises we will
release a portion of the responsive information to the requestors. Please include ORU Nos. 19-
01080, 19-01081, 19-01142 and 19-01200 in any future correspondence concerning this request.

Section 522.108 of the Government Code

Section 552.108 provides, in part:

(a) Information held by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor that deals with
the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime is excepted from the
requirements of Section 552.021 if:

(1) release of the information would interfere with the detection,


investigation, or prosecution of crime[.]

(2) it is information that deals with the detection, investigation, or


prosecution of crime only in relation to an investigation that did not
result in conviction or deferred adjudication.

Gov't Code§ 552.108(a)(l)

HPD advises that Exhibits 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 pertain to an open and active investigation. The
alleged offense occurred on or about January 28, 2019. Release of the information would
interfere with the detection and investigation of a crime. Thus, HPD believes the information
contained in Exhibits 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 should be excepted from public disclosure pursuant to
section 552.108(a)(l ).

Section 552.101 of the Government Code

Section 552.101 of the Government Code excepts from required public disclosure "information
considered to be confidential by law, either constitutional, or by judicial decision." TEx. Gov'r
CODE §552.1 0 I.

Release oflnformation Recorded by Body Worn Camera

Section 552.101 encompasses section 1701.660 ofthe Occupations Code. Section 170!.660(a)
provides as follows:

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a recording created with a body worn
camera and documenting an incident that involves the use of deadly force by a
peace officer or that is otherwise related to an administrative or criminal
General Ken Paxton February 14, 2019 3

investigation of an officer may not be deleted, destroyed, or released to the public


until all criminal matters have been finally adjudicated and all related
administrative investigations have concluded.

TEX. Occ. CODE§ 1701.660(a).

Exhibit 3 consists of body worn camera recordings involving an incident that resulted in the use
of deadly force by a peace officer and administrative and criminal investigations of peace
officers. The criminal matters have not been adjudicated and the administrative investigations
have not concluded. Therefore, the Department believes it must withhold this information
contained in Exhibit 3 pursuant to section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with
section 1701.660(a) of the Occupations Code.

Informer's Privilege

Section 552.101 encompasses common-law informer's privilege, which has long been recognized
by Texas courts. See Aguilar v. State, 444 S.W.2d 935, 937 (Tex. Crim. App. 1969); Hawthorne
v. State, 10 S.W.2d 724, 725 (Tex. Crirn. App. 1928). The informer's privilege protects from
disclosure the identities of persons who report activities over which the governmental body has
criminal or quasi-criminal law-enforcement authority, provided that the subject of the
information does not already know the informer's identity. Open Records Decision Nos. 515 at 3
(1988), 208 at 1-2 (1978).

Exhibit 4 and Exhibit 6 contain identifYing information of a person who reported a possible
violation of state law to HPD. HPD is charged with enforcement of this provision. This alleged
violation of the state law carries with it criminal penalties. To the best of HPD's knowledge, the
subject of the complaint does not know the identity of the informer. Therefore, HPD believes
that the identifying information of the informer contained in Exhibit 4 and Exhibit 6 is
confidential under section 552.101 of the Government Code in conjunction with common-law
informer's privilege.

Section 552.152 of the Government Code

Section 552.152 excepts from disclosure information in the custody of HPD relating to an
employee or officer of HPD if under the circumstances pertaining to the employee or officer,
disclosure would subject the employee or officer to substantial threat of physical harm."

The information contained in Exhibits 3, 4, 5 and 6 consists of the names of investigating


officers who are also undercover officers. Release of this information that identifies undercover
officers would not only compromise the effectiveness of these individuals as undercover officers,
but would likely cause the officers to face imminent threat of physical danger. For these reasons,
HPD believes that the information it has marked is confidential by law pursuant to section
552.152 of the Government Code.
General Ken Paxton February 14, 2019 4

The Department respectfully requests a ruling on this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact
me at 713-308-1660 if you need additional information. Please include ORU No. in any future
correspondence concerning this request.

KLL:· m

Enclosures

cc: Elena Arteaga


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cc: Cathy Tatom
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Sent via electronic mail,Niillli
(w/o Exhibits)

cc: Justin Pulliam


Sent via electronic mGril:jJil
(w/o Exhibits)

cc: Edge Photography .


Sent via electronic mail: l!illRIIMI81rllllllllitl•i!i' Ilk
(w/o Exhibits)