HPD Chief to unveil revisions to body-worn camera protocols

At 2 p.m. today, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner will announce revisions to how the department collects body-worn camera video recordings during critical incidents. KPRC 2 will carry the news conference live in the video player at the top of the page.

Screenshot of the critical incident briefing video that HPD released following the Dec. 17, 20223 officer-involved shooting. (HPD)

In a move to enhance transparency and accountability within the Houston Police Department, Police Chief Troy Finner is poised to announce revisions to the collection of body-worn camera video recordings. The announcement, scheduled for 2 p.m. today, comes in the aftermath of a December officer-involved shooting that sparked public criticism when a crucial portion of the incident went undocumented.

The incident involved the shooting of Kevin Lyn Mitchell, and the subsequent release of a critical incident briefing video that did not include footage of the events leading up to the incident. A statement from the police department revealed that the officer involved, identified as D. Reinhold, failed to activate his body camera during the crucial moments of the encounter. The department’s internal affairs division is actively investigating the reasons behind the camera lapse, while Officer Reinhold remains on active duty pending the outcome of the inquiry.

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In the Dec. 17 incident involving the shooting of 30-year-old Mitchell, the Houston Police Department responded to a report of a robbery at a business. Officer Reinhold pursued Mitchell, who was seen fleeing the scene with merchandise believed to be stolen, police said. Despite orders to stop, Mitchell continued to evade the officer on foot.

The confrontation escalated when Reinhold caught up with Mitchell in a vacant lot. Mitchell allegedly attacked the officer, assaulting him with punches, bites, hits, and stabs using tree branches. Fearing for his life, Reinhold drew his duty weapon, but Mitchell attempted to seize it, police said. After successfully re-holstering the weapon, Reinhold and Mitchell engaged in another physical altercation, during which Mitchell reportedly tried to take the officer’s taser.

Reinhold, still fearing for his life, discharged his duty weapon, striking Mitchell.

Following the shooting, Mitchell was hospitalized and faced charges of aggravated assault of a public servant and felony attempt to take a weapon from a police officer.

The released video related to the incident did not capture the chases, fights, or the actual shooting. Instead, it commenced with the arrival of other officers at the scene.

The police department’s summary video did not provide an explanation for why Reinhold’s body camera was not activated during the crucial moments of the incident. The department, in a statement, acknowledged plans for policy changes five hours after releasing the limited video.

Reinhold, who joined the police department in July 2022, faces scrutiny for not adhering to the body camera activation policy outlined in the department’s general order, last updated in January 2021. The policy mandates officers to activate their cameras during any police action, including vehicle and foot pursuits, and failure to do so without justification can result in disciplinary action.

About the Author

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.

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