Transcribed copy of traffic interview with Steven Dean: xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/19828707/1857849283/name/Steven
I recently located this article by Steven Dean, a Houston Investigative News Reporter that had received a citation from me for operating an illegally loud, illegally equipped Harley Davidson motorcycle within my beat assignment some years ago. Mr. Dean’s accusations and allegations are simply false and misleading, but as a Houston Police Officer, I had essentially surrendered my First Amendment right to free speech and freedom of expression; therefore, until now, I was not afforded the opportunity to adequately respond seeing that I had a family to support and worked for a governmental entity that respects Political Correctness more than the truth and doing the right thing. Though I am still receiving payments from the City of Houston for back-pay/overtime, my policy driven obligation to stifle my free speech and opinions no longer apply. Okay, Steven Dean…let me respond to your accusations and slanderous allegations and let’s see if your “Backpage” slanted media outlet will publish it.
First of all, Steven Dean is simply an arrogant, self-entitled, self-righteous, self-consumed, individual who has deceived himself into believing that he is the harborage of all truth and wisdom. His occupation as an “Investigative Reporter” has somehow, in his own mind, elevated him to a status above the common man; Steven considers himself to be the defender of all “he” considers to be important and relevant…primarily, his own selfish interests. I stopped Steven Dean for operating a motorcycle that emitted decibel levels obviously dangerous to the motoring and pedestrian public. I was simply fulfilling the duties I swore to uphold with diligence some 30 years prior to this traffic stop. Mr. Dean took great offense to having been stopped and cited by a lowly Houston Police Officer and subsequently embarked on a personal mission to damage my reputation and destroy my professional life as a Houston Police Officer. So then, let’s get into Dean’s article and let’s take it one line at a time, okay?
The title of Dean’s article reads: “Houston drivers getting tickets and online harassment campaign from HPD officer.”
Well, Mr. Dean, Houston drivers were getting tickets, large numbers of them from me, especially those who selfishly operated motor vehicles illegally equipped with exhaust mechanisms that not only violated the law, but assaulted the innocent public, a public I had sworn to protect and serve. Do you have a problem with an officer actually doing his job?
“Online Harrassment.” What you interpret as “online harassment” was nothing more than an open forum conversation with motorcyclists holding an opposing view on the subject of loud exhausts and their relevance in the sport of motorcycling…nothing more. Were heart-felt words exchanged? Yes sir! Was I truthful and to the point, yes sir! Was there an HPD policy in effect at the time that restricted the use of and participation in on-line forums, no sir!
Who are the citizens that have accused me of “attacking” them online? Where did you get this information and how did I “attack” them via the Internet? Again, I was involved in a open forum, discussing subjects related to motorcycles and the responsibilities of the motorcycle community to ride respectfully.
You said: “In both cases, his targets were motorcycle riders, which seems to be a one-man mission for this officer.”
Please provide me with the names and information relevant to these two motorcycle riders. As far as a “one-man mission” is concerned; perhaps…I was very much ALONE in my enforcement efforts to bring peace and civility to the roadways and communities within my beat assignment; those areas regularly assaulted by loud biker thugs who care absolutely nothing for the peace and safety of the citizenry.
You said: “While some 30-year veteran HPD officers say they’ve never written a single ticket for loud motorcycles in their entire careers, Holtsclaw’s daily work records show he writes 5 to 8 loud motorcycle tickets per day.”
I will agree that many 30+ year veterans and those with as little as 3 years have done their very best to do as “little” as possible, especially where traffic enforcement is concerned. Why would they? Having to deal with self-righteous individuals such as yourself on a daily basis; deal with a zealous Internal Affairs Division; a weak, impotent, perverse, City Administration; a completely useless and embarrassing Municipal Court system…why would they? These officers say that they’ve never written a ticket for loud motorcycles, yes? Does that somehow nullify the validity of my noise enforcement initiative? Does the fact that I took the initiative to do what is right, to protect the citizenry in my assigned area from the bad behavior of self-righteous loud bikers, like yourself for example, does that make my enforcement initiative a bad thing/irrelevant/wrong? So I wrote an average of 5 to 8 motorcycle tickets per day…how many other citations did I write, Mr. Dean? How many higher misdemeanor and felony arrest did I make, Mr. Dean? How many times was I on the “top performers” list for misdemeanor arrests, felony arrests, citations issued, calls-for-service run, reports written? Your article is not only slanderous, but slanted, prejudiced by your compulsion for revenge and simply wrong!
You said, “In January, Holtsclaw received a written reprimand in his personnel file for lodging an attack on the World Wide Web aimed at one of the dozens of motorcycle riders he has ticketed in recent months.” Okay, Mr. Dean, who did I attack on the “World Wide Web?” Who is it????
You quoted me as writing: “Hey, you are the textbook example of the disrespectful biker I’ve been writing about. You see, the problem is that mom and dad did not spank you little bottom during those formative years and you have obviously never had any real form of discipline in your life…you are vulgar, arrogant, self-absorbed and a spot on society as a whole,” Officer Holdsclaw wrote on a biker’s message board called “Motohouston.com.”
Yes, Mr. Dean…I most likely wrote these very words. Where did you get the idea that this individual was someone I had actually come into contact with? Who was that exchange directed toward? Do you know, Mr. Dean…or are you simply making another assumption? I did exercise my freedom of speech while working for a police department that does not permit such things. In this, I was wrong…but the message is simply the truth and I stand by it today. It is also true that at this time, the Houston Police Department did NOT have a policy that specifically forbid the personal exchange of ideas on an online forum. The Houston P.D. did, soon after my online truths were revealed, develop such a policy. Once the policy was put into effect, my online exchange of ideas ceased.
You said, “He also signed many of the messages at the end with: “Rick HPD.””
This is true, and why wouldn’t I, it’s the truth and I am not ashamed of the truth. How about you, Mr. Dean? The additional quotes from the Internet used in your article are truthful, accurate, to the point. Again, at that time, there was not a policy in effect that prohibited an online exchange of ideas, work related or personal.
You said, “Officer Holtsclaw is known to ride his own motorcycle, and he previously was assigned to work in HPD’s motorcycle detail known as the “Solo Unit.”
Yes, Mr. Dean, I have owned, operated, maintained some 31 motorcycles since age 12. I have ridden professionally, long distance touring, commuting…I have accumulated hundreds-of-thousands of miles on motorcycles; therefore, I know motorcycles and I know motorcyclists. I know you, Mr. Dean and exactly what your selfish motives are and recognize your lack of respect for the citizenry assaulted by your illegal noise and the police that provide you protection!
To continue your personal attacks against me you said: “His Internal Affairs Division complaint history also shows he was sanctioned for misconduct while assigned to the HPD Helicopter Patrol unit. Officers who still work there say it’s a rare thing to be forced to leave the helicopter detail, since the department makes such a huge investment for the special training required to work in that unit. However, in 1993, his misconduct in which he went against a supervisor’s orders prompted him to be transferred, current HPD Helicopter officers say.”
Here you either blatantly lied or your sorely lacking investigative skills, especially relevant to someone who works as an “Investigative Reporter.” I was not forced to leave the Helicopter Division in 1993. I requested a transfer in 2009 as a result of misconduct on the part of the Lieutenant recently assigned there. This Lieutenant had attempted to cover-up a serious infraction of safety protocol and gave me an illegal order to remove documentation from my flight report substantiating this violation. As a result of the illegal order, I politely removed the flight wings from my flight suit, placed the wings on the lieutenant’s desk and requested a transfer to Westside Patrol. I went through Hades in the months to follow as the new Captain of the Helicopter Division took my request for transfer and the method used as a personal insult; this “Captain” proceeded to make my life a living Hades until such time I forced his hand and was transferred to the Special Operations Division prior to my Westside assignment.
The incident you quote in 1993, some 16 years prior to my transfer from the Helicopter Division, was in response to my intercession on behalf of my partner who was being unfairly treated by an over zealous Internal Affairs Sergeant. Long story short, the Internal Affairs Sergeant was preparing to file insubordination on my partner for no valid reason at all. In response, I met with the IAD Sergeant in an adjoining room and took 12 minutes, on two recorders, to tell the arrogant Sergeant exactly what I thought about him and his investigative techniques. The Sergeant then filed on us both…I received a written reprimand for “Respect for fellow employee.” Done. This had absolutely NOTHING to do with my request for a transfer some 16 years later. Again, you lied and obfuscated, Mr. Dean!
You said: “In 1986, he was sanctioned for misconduct while assigned to the Traffic & Accident Division.”
Yes, Mr. Dean. Noting that while I was assigned to the Solo Motorcycle Detail, I was a consistent top performer in arrests/citations issued, I was orally reprimanded for calling a female “darling” on a traffic stop. You see, Mr. Dean, I stopped a violator for not wearing his seat belt. The gentleman was upset for being detained and exited his vehicle to discuss the situation with me. The passenger in the car, the violator’s wife, opened the passenger’s door and asked her husband, “What does he want?” I glanced over at the elderly woman and stated, “Darling, you could also receive a citation for not wearing your seatbelt.” For this, I was advised to refrain from referring to females as “darling.” Being an old southern boy, the term just naturally flows from my mouth… Is this a problem for you, Mr. Dean? Of the hundreds, if not thousands, of contacts I made during my time in traffic enforcement, a few complaints can be expected…not everyone is going to be happy having been stopped by the police. Do you agree, Mr. Dean?
You said, “Within one month of getting the written reprimand for the online smear campaign above, Officer Holtsclaw was given another written reprimand for yet another online attack aimed at this investigative reporter, the author of this article.”
This may have some truth to it, but remember, Mr. Dean…My online contributions on the motorcycle forums were within a relatively short period of time. As a result of an organized effort on the part of motorcycle associations, advising their members to file complaints on me for anything possible to deter my lawful enforcement efforts, my online contributions ran successive, but their introduction to the Internal Affairs did not. Each allegation had to be investigated separately; therefore, “within one month” is irrelevant…and the organized effort of the loud bikers to destroy my credibility was relentless.
Something even more interesting is the fact that I provided my supervisors and the Internal Affairs Division with dash cam audio, personal hidden recorder and video proving that the loud motorcycle thugs had lied in their sworn IAD statements, yet, no charges were filed against them for perjury. Even when HPD’s “Major Offenders Unit” took the documentation for perjury, on the part of the loud bikers, to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to file charges, nothing was done. The lies, obfuscation, perjury continued. Much like your article.
You said, speaking of yourself, “Officer Holtsclaw, however, was apparently so indignant that a reporter would plead not guilty that he started an online battle in an effort to have the reporter punished or fired from his job at a local television station.”
Mr. Dean, I was not indignant that you had plead “not guilty” relevant to the citation I had written you. Truthfully, I could of cared less. I knew you were guilty, you know you’re guilty…what’s the point? So then, what was my motivation regarding this supposed “online battle” you speak of.
Mr. Dean, After citing you for your violation of common decency; knowing that you had been to Internal Affairs with retaliation as your primary motive; knowing that you’re an “Investigative Reporter” for Channel 2 News; I began noticing news cameras at my regular traffic court sessions. The camera personnel were filming my testimony from the foyer of the court building and subsequently interviewing loud bikers who had just completed adjudicating their citations, “guilty” I might add!
The old cop in me could not help but determine that you had begun a self-initiated investigation relevant to my vehicular noise initiative. Especially after learning that you had filed for an “Open Records” relevant to my personal files and employment history. Internal Affairs advised me that you were relentless in your phone calls to their office, demanding to know how your complaint against me was proceeding, desperately seeking retribution for having been stopped by a lowly Houston Cop and cited…how demeaning to a self-endowed Houston elite, such as yourself.
I figured the camera footage was your doing and in response, I contacted the Noisefree group online and asked them to write you and express their informed opinion regarding the operation of illegally loud motor vehicles on our roadways. My request, in noway, impugned your character or endangered your job status. I simply wanted you to know that there was a portion of the community that understood the illegality, intrusiveness, dangerousness, relevant to the operation of illegally loud motor vehicles on our roadways and within our communities. But you didn’t stop there, did you Mr. Dean?
Apparently, your desperate desire for retribution, led you to coalesce with Fox News and their Investigative Reporter. You knew that any affirmative action on your part to demean me and my enforcement efforts would be readily construed as retribution; therefore, you had your buddy from Fox News carry the ball for you. Not long after, two very slanted, slanderous, career destroying videos were published by Fox News accusing me of harassing the “innocent” bikers in West Houston. Shame on you, Mr. Dean! I might add, I was not allowed to respond to these videos and their spurious allegations, nor was I permitted to defend myself or my professional reputation. If I wanted to maintain employment, if I wanted to continue to support my wife and children, I had to keep my mouth shut and suck it up. It was painful, but I did it…again, shame on you Mr. Dean!
You said and quoted: “In his written reprimand over this online smear campaign, Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland wrote, “You admitted that you contacted the Noiseoff.org website, identified yourself as “Rick HPD/Westside Division” and asked the participants of Noiseoff.org to contact Channel 2 News in Houston and express their opinion regarding noisy vehicles, which resulted in Channel 2 News receiving numerous e-mails on the subject. You admitted you also provided a hyperlink to Channel 2 in the same e-mail in order to expedite the dissemination of information.”
Yes I did, just as I explained in the paragraphs above. HPD did not know what to do with this; had I really done anything wrong? If so, what action should be taken? I was advised by IAD investigators that my on-line discussions had spawned the creation of a new policy that would soon restrict HPD officers on-line conduct. The interoffice discussions began and finally a policy was written to curtail the online dissemination of information. So be it. I had adapted to forfeiting my First Amendment Free Speech rights many years ago; therefore, losing my ability to communicate on-line was just another rung in the PC ladder.
You said and quoted, “Chief McClelland wrote that his actions violated the department’s policy regarding “Conduct and Authority” or “Conduct and Behavior.” His letter states that, “You failed to use sound judgment when you posted information on the Internet regarding the issuance of a citation for loud exhaust to an investigative reporter that works for Channel 2 News.”
So I failed to use sound judgment? Mr. Dean, this is a “catch all” when the Department has nothing substantive to allege; therefore, it is what it is…but my online message was true and accurate. My online message, again, in no way impugned you or endangered your work status.
You said, “The reprimand also spells out that Holtsclaw posted another message on April 14, 2010 where he divulged internal departmental legal issues. The reprimand states he “inaccurately” described that a supervisor had stopped him from writing loud motorcycle tickets, but that City Hall had overturned that decision.”
Again, Mr. Dean, you obfuscate and demonstrate very poor investigative skills. Mr. Dean, I was called into the office by Sergeant Mark Miller of Westside Patrol. Sergeant Miller ordered me to stop issuing noise citations and to stop performing follow-up investigations. Sergeant Miller advised me that, in his opinion, the ordinance relevant to “Noisy Vehicles Generally,” 30-3, was too subjective, to vague and therefore not enforceable.
I interpreted Sergeant Miller’s order to be unlawful, the result of poor judgment and self-interests on his part. Why? Sergeant Miller operated an extremely loud, illegally equipped, racing Corvette and drove the vehicle to the Westside Station at 0545 hours in the morning. The Sergeant’s conduct was irresponsible and reflected poorly on the Houston Police Department. Sergeant Miller was part of the problem, just like you, Mr. Dean.
In response to the unlawful order, I performed research and presented Houston’s City Legal Department with legal precedent, Aguilar V. Texas (2008), which nullified Sergeant Miller’s “subjective” argument. Though it took City Legal five months to render a decision, I was summoned to the Westside Captain’s Office and provided with an apology from Chief McClellend. In addition to the apology, I was subsequently advised that Sergeant Miller’s order to stop issuing citations to loud motor vehicles had been overturned. I was free to resume issuing citations for noise infractions…and I did with a vengeance!
This is the point at which your loud biker thugs began their organized campaign to ruin my reputation and injure my 31 year career via lies and selfish behavior. Who do you think took the complaints of your loud biker thug buddies at the Westside Station? Right, Sergeant Miller. How do you think the worm turned for me after forcing a supervisors hand and embarrassing him by having his order overturned by the authorities Downtown? A supervisor with clout and influence in the Department? Your thug buddies organized two different protests at Houston’s City Hall. Your thug buddies threatened Mayor Parker and the City Council members, threatening to fire them if they did not stop my enforcement initiative.
You said, “In other words, the Traffic & Accident Squad at HPD has units that are specifically devoted to traffic enforcement, but Holtsclaw works patrol. That means calls from citizens may be taking the back seat while he carries out his mission to issue tickets to so many motorcycles.”
Mr. Dean, you’re simply wrong, once again. Yes, HPD does have a traffic enforcement squad. These officers patrol the freeways and their primary duty is “speed” enforcement. There is no one entity assigned to bring the out-of-control noise violators, such as yourself, under control; therefore, I took on that responsibility myself. Also, regarding the “citizens may be taking the back seat while he carries out his mission to issue tickets to so many motorcycles.” This also is simply not true. Look at my record for calls-for-service run, my arrests for thefts, domestic violence, my follow-up investigations resulting in warrants and arrests for fraud, assault, theft. Investigation that ended with an arrest for sexual abuse of a child, murder, in-state/out of state warrant arrests for a sundry of serious violations. Did you, as an “Investigative Reporter,” take the time to research these documented statistics? My shift Lieutenant at the time commented to me that he would have sanctioned me for spending too much time on traffic arrests, but my work record, calls-for-service record, showed that my traffic investigations posed no hindrance to my patrol obligations. No, Mr. Dean, you only obfuscated and reported what you could misconstrue as dirt and filth…shame on you Dean!!!
You said, “In this reporter’s case, trial was set to begin at Houston Municipal Court in February but the case was dismissed. The prosecutor was told that all of the above information, including the written reprimands and daily work records would be introduced to the jury, but the judge then advised that the case was dismissed because Officer Holtsclaw did not show up for the trial.”
Well, Mr. Dean, had I been issued the proper subpoena for your trial and if I was not tied-up on more pressing matters in patrol, I would have loved to have testified against you. My court attendance records will substantiate the fact that I go to court, I testify and that 99% of my noise cases adjudicated via trial resulted in a pricey conviction. Your thug loud biker buds were leaving my court with hatred in their eyes and revenge in their heart. You see, Mr. Dean, the problem is, after your loud thug buddies began threatening and demanding that City Hall do something about my “lawful and Constituional” enforcement of the law, my Mayor and Police Chief cowed to the threats, concerned for the city coffer, the Department discretely began to rewrite City Ordinance 30-3 in such a way as to exclude modified exhaust mechanisms. Even though Mayor Parker admitted during an open forum, in response to the loud bikers demand that I be stopped, that I was acting in accordance with policy, your loud thug buddies continued to threaten and demand. The motorcycle community is comprised of individuals with political clout and an abundance of “expendable” income. In the political arena, right, lawfulness, correctness, takes a backseat to the all mighty dollar and political influence.
A Department Circular was subsequently issued stating that City Ordinance 30-3 could no longer be used for noisy vehicle violations and that any officer wanting to issue a citation for a noisy vehicle would have to default to using the State of Texas Motor Vehicle Code, section 547.604, “Muffler Required.” In response, Houston’s weak and impotent Municipal Court System began summarily dismissing my citations in fear of reprisal and void for vagueness Constitutional issues.
Problem was, Mr. Dean, the City of Houston did NOT have a proper “charging instrument” relevant to the State Code, 547.604; therefore, when I issued citations using the State law, the attached “charging instrument” was “defective” and my citations were subsequently dismissed. Houston does not want their officers using the State code because the monies generated from State code violations, for the most part, goes to the State. Houston desires that officers write the City Code; thereby, keeping the money at home…again, it’s all about the MONEY!
Anyway, in response to the fact that there was not a valid State charging instrument, I THREW A FIT! The Houston Police Department, in response, sent my patrol supervisor to the Municipal Court and demanded that an accurate and legal charging instrument be provided for violations of State Traffic Code, 547.604. But guess what, Mr. Dean. Because of you and your loud thug biker buddies, I never got the opportunity to use that “new”charging instrument. Why? The Houston Police Department decided to cow to the pressure of biker complaints and subsequently pulled me from street duty and assigned me to the front desk at Westside. Like one old tenured officer from the Downtown Travis HPD Headquarters called and told me, “Rick, be careful…HPD will not hesitate to throw an officer under the bus at the first hint of controversy.” He is so very correct.
Then, to top it off, I received a phone call from the Westside Captain telling me to report to Internal Affairs because I was temporarily being relieved of duty. The Captain advised that a loud biker in one of my municipal courts had complained that I threatened him. Truth is, I didn’t even know the biker was in court, nor did I ever speak to him. The IAD Lieutenant investigating the allegation brought me into his office and advised me that the complaint was simply foolishness, that the complaint should be exonerated soon and that he could not believe IAD had done this. I certainly could. It was at that point that I decided this old rednecked boy needed to seek a life of peace and tranquility elsewhere. Considering the fact that my police department had failed to support my lawful and Constitutional efforts to enforce the law, to bring civility and peace to the streets and communities in my assigned area; seeing that I could no longer perform actual police work, I made the affirmative decision to retire. I honorably retired from the Houston Police Department in August of 2011, 31.5 years of service…bet that made your day Mr. Dean, yes?
In summation, Mr. Dean. I did my job, just like I’ve done from the moment I first set foot on the premises of 61 Riesner in November of 1979. I truly loved being a cop, cut me and I’ll bleed blue. All that I have done, all that I gave the citizens of Houston, though not appreciated, I would do it again, because I have given my best. Though, through the course of my career, I was forced to deal with unscrupulous, self-righteous individuals, such as yourself, I WOULD DO IT AGAIN! Semper Fi.