May 1, 2024 - News

City seeks to withhold Houston police HR files

Illustration of a cracked magnifying glass over a police badge.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The City of Houston is attempting to keep secret the personnel file for a police officer who has been involved in four fatal shootings since 2022.

Catch up quick: Axios filed an open records request with the City of Houston on April 15 for two officers' personnel files after the Houston Police Department released security and bodycam footage of a March shooting that identified officer Devin Inocencio as one of the shooters.

  • The other personnel file requested was for officer Shaun Houlihan.

Driving the news: On Monday, the city sent a letter to the Texas Attorney General's Office asking to withhold the files Axios requested.

  • The city cited a wide swath of the Texas Government Code that allows government entities to keep certain information secret but did not outline its specific legal arguments in the letter shared with Axios.

Context: Inocencio, 27, and Houlihan, 34, are members of the North Belt Division's Crime Suppression Team, a special squad intended to proactively tackle crime along the Beltway 8 corridor in north Houston.

The intrigue: Grand juries declined to indict Inocencio or any other officers involved in the first three shootings.

  • The criminal investigation into the March shooting, led by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, is ongoing.

Flashback: The City of Houston voluntarily gave Axios police personnel files in 2022.

The big picture: The initial denial comes days after the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office declined to release bodycam footage of the shooting.

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