Houston officials, police trade jabs over vote on purchase of helmets, tactical gear: Report

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Elected officials in Houston tabled a vote that, if passed, would have approved a $166,000 contract to provide the police department with helmets for every officer amid protests over police brutality and systematic racism, according to officials and a report.

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Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo slammed city officials in a tweet after Mayor Sylvester Turner decided to suspend the vote, which was scheduled for Wednesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“The thought that in 2020 elected members of city council don’t understand that a protective helmet is needed by police officers is a testament to the loss of common sense in our nation,” Acevedo tweeted on Wednesday, along with a photograph of a cop with a bloodied gash on his forehead. “We ask children and motorcycle riders to wear helmets; but we question the need for police.”

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According to the City Council’s agenda, the $166,159.46 contract would have provided the police department with “non-ballistic face shields” and more than 450 ballistics helmets, among other gear. It was not clear why the vote was halted, according to the report.

Acevedo was not the only police official to voice concerns related to the vote.

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Joe Gamaldi, national vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, also tweeted on Wednesday, apparently before learning of the decision to put the vote on hold.

“Getting reports certain council members will be voting no, truly a sad day,” he wrote. “Houston is better than this.”

But City Council members were less than pleased about Acevedo’s decision to tweet his opinion on the matter, according to the Chronicle.

The police chief had reportedly declined to meet with at least one member, Jerry Davis, who, along with another, Tiffany Thomas, was seeking additional information about the helmet contract and wanted to ensure police would make attempts to demilitarize while responding to protests, the outlet reported.

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“I am offended because I believe that none of my colleagues are against protective helmets and shields for police, for there are other things that they must do with that equipment,” Thomas said, according to the Chronicle. “However, he's not listening. It's a bargaining tool to demilitarize the police during public protests. That’s been the ask, and that’s been the recommendation. So, I am concerned that he would get on Twitter and not have a conversation with council members before he would publicly post that.”

Thompson later wrote a tweet of her own, in which she called for Acevedo to apologize.

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It's not clear if any postponement date for the vote has been set.

A spokesperson for the mayor's office didn't immediately respond to FOX Business' request seeking comment.

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