ABOVE: Hai Son Bui, Founder, We the People Organize; Mike Doyle, Attorney; Kathy Swilley, former HPD Officer and Whistleblower; Cheryl Dorsey, former LAPD Sergeant; Brenda Cherry, Community Advocate and Author; Demetrie Dixon, former HPD Officer; and forum moderator Jeffrey L. Boney, Forward Times Associate Editor
This past Monday, January 27th, Hai Son Bui, founder of We the People Organize, hosted a community forum called Community Police Oversight Meeting: “The Making of a ‘Rogue’ Cop” at Talento Bilingue de Houston.
The forum featured several former law enforcement officials, including retired Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey, who spoke about retaliation against ‘good’ cops and the issues surrounding the dangerous culture that exists within law enforcement departments across the country.
As an LAPD insider, Sgt. Dorsey highlights criminal, social or public policy injustices affecting disenfranchised communities throughout the nation. She also recognizes and exposes institutional and police abuses, as well as social justice disparities, while introducing strategies and commentary on how to systematically attack those injustices and empower audiences on how to navigate within that system, when necessary, and help change that system, when possible.
“Many police chiefs and police commissioners coddle dishonest police officers and circle the wagons to protect their police departments rather than the community they promised to protect and serve,” Sergeant Dorsey said. “If citizens really want to urge ‘good officers’ to report police misconduct, they must help create safe zones for officers who report wrongdoing and protect ‘good cops’ from rogue administrators. They must also demand real whistleblower protections that extend beyond the academic. The power lies with the police executives who have the real power to change the culture.”
Dorsey is also an acclaimed author, who has written an autobiography, Black and Blue, The Creation Of A Social Advocate Vol II, which provides an unfiltered look into LAPD’s police culture, internal disciplinary processes, and techniques to de-escalate and diffuse tensions during police encounters as well as best practices when reporting police misconduct.
Former Houston Police Department (HPD) Officer and Whistleblower Kathy Swilley, spoke about how she tried to warn HPD officials that HPD officers were fabricating evidence relative to cases, including her wrongful termination. Swilley stated that she has verifiable evidence that the Houston Police Department presented a fabricated certification, of then-Chief Harold L. Hurtt, and other documents to a judge in order to fraudulently obtain a summary judgment ruling in favor of the City of Houston and HPD. She pointed out that those warnings she made were completely ignored, and that evidence of new high-profile cases have come to light over recent months, as an affidavit was found to have been fabricated in order to obtain a search warrant in the botched drug raid, resulting in the deaths of unarmed Rhogena Nicholas, her husband Dennis Tuttle, and their dog in a no-knock assault by HPD narcotics officers.
Swilley was terminated in 2008, after reporting what she believed was discrimination in the Houston Police Department. Swilley was a highly decorated and well-respected HPD officer who served the City of Houston for over 20 years, receiving numerous “Outstanding” performance ratings, commendations from the public, from her superiors and from two former Houston mayors. In 2005 Mayor Bill White awarded Swilley with the City of Houston’s prestigious Bravo Award. For years, Swilley has been fighting to clear her name and reputation.
On June 26, 2018, Dave Atwood, with the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice, wrote a letter to HPD Chief Art Acevedo regarding the alleged fabricated evidence in Swilley’s case and related to several other officers’ cases, after those officers reported police misconduct. Mr. Atwood’s letter advised Chief Acevedo that the Coalition was concerned that the police misconduct of fabricating evidence in Swilley’s case, and several other cases, was detrimental to the citizens of Houston. Then on January 28, 2019, two people died as a result of a botched drug raid that was based on fabricated evidence. Swilley stated that if an investigation had been done into Mr. Atwood’s concern for the safety of the citizens of Houston, Rhogena Nicholas, Dennis Tuttle and their dog might still be alive.
Swilley says Officer Goines could not have done all that he’s accused of doing by himself, without his supervisor(s) being aware of the wrongdoing, because HPD has systems in place to prevent such incidents.
Swilley is requesting that the City of Houston open an official investigation into employees who may have fabricated evidence and that the City create a Police Whistleblower Committee (PWC) and a Public Integrity Unit, to investigate anonymous phone complaints of police misconduct by fellow officers, without fear of retaliation, in an effort to prevent possible future incidents like her case, the Harding Street case and other victims who have been falsely arrested.
Former HPD officer Demetrie Dixon, author Brenda Cherry and Mike Doyle, attorney for Rhogena Nicholas’ family, were also on the panel to speak on the subject matter at hand. Gavin Ellis, who serves as Assistant District Attorney at Harris County District Attorney’s Office, also spoke about the Civil Rights Division at the D.A.’s office and their focus on protecting everyone’s Civil Rights across Harris County.
On Tuesday, January 28th, We the People Organize held a Candlelight Vigil in memory of Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle, which was held at 7815 Harding Street, where the couple was killed.
For more information on We the People Organize, please visit www.wethepeopleorganize.com.