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Balcones Hts Mayor to Investigate Police Force

Greg M. Schwartz
gschwartz@sacurrent.com

In late breaking news, Carlos de Leon of the Brown Berets says today's meeting with Balcones Heights Mayor Suzanne de Leon concerning allegations of racial profiling by the Balcones Heights Police Department went well. He said he came out of the meeting hopeful that a solution can be found.

Carlos de Leon was joined by representatives from the Cesar Chavez Foundation and the Mexican American Catholic College. He says that Mayor Suzanne de Leon also had the city attorney and a city clerk present.

The Brown Berets’ de Leon says that part of the conversation was that if Police Chief Bill Stannard is shown to be involved, the city would call in outside sources to investigate, such as the Texas Rangers.

“The mayor told me that the police chief is strictly under her control and that they will take serious action [if Stannard is proved to be a part of the profiling],” said Carlos de Leon. He added that the mayor voiced the sentiment that Balcones Heights police should not be referring traffic violations to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement unless a driver has a criminal background.

The city attorney reportedly said that he is going to round up photos of all Balcones Heights officers so that complainants can have a chance to identify those who they would accuse of racial profiling. A notice is going out for complainants to fill out reports citing the dates and times of alleged incidents so that the city can look further into the matter. Carlos de Leon said the city attorney indicated that they are serious about stopping the negative press that the allegations have generated.

“What we’re trying to do, and it’s difficult to make people lose their fear, but hopefully now that they see city management is going to work with us… maybe that will give them more confidence that they won’t face retaliation,” said de Leon of the complainants who have so far been reluctant to come forward for fear of reprisals.

Chief Stannard told the Current last week that racial profiling is not going on in his department and said he would fire anyone he found to be engaged in such activity. Stay tuned…

Posted by Gschwartz on 2/23/2009 10:40:40 PM
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