DISTRICT D

Candidates responding: Anthony Kirk Allen, Marlon A Christian, Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Travis McGee, Andrew C. Burks, Jr., Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore, Dr. Carla Brailey, Nissi Hamilton, Rashad Cave

Municipal Court Fines & Fees, Community Service

The Houston City Council and Mayor sets policy for the municipal courts in Houston. These courts hear only Class C Misdemeanors - including such common offenses as minor traffic offenses, public intoxication, and violating other municipal ordinances.


As a City Councilmember, would you eliminate the practice of jailing people just for failure to pay fines and fees to the municipal court, if they are indigent?


Anthony Kirk Allen: There would still need to be some form of restitution

Marlon A Christian: Yes, I recommend a program for them to give a community service to the community.

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Before I answer your important question, how do you define indigegnt and would this be verifiable?

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes. But, there has to be some sort of consequence or else fees would never get paid.

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes, I would enroll them in a program that would make them accountable for their actions and create a program for them to pay it off with community relief efforts like picking up the illegal dumping in the district.

Rashad Cave: Yes. This practice is tantamount to debtor’s prison. When we jail indigent offenders, we disrupt their families and threaten their employment. This only makes it more difficult to afford fines. Instead, I will champion efforts to pivot toward alternative plans for fine repayment that do not involve incarceration.


Would you make one of the performance review issues for municipal judges their treatment of citizens who lack the ability to pay fines? For instance, the decision on whether to rehire municipal judges could include a review of whether they are jailing people for fines and fees related to Class C Misdemeanors or whether they are appropriately waiving fines or converting them into community service when people cannot afford to pay them.


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes, I was a victum of a Municipal Judge for his abuse of powerand disrespect for citizens before his court.

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: I would absolutely include the judge’s manner of treatment of indigent defendants as an element of performance reviews.  Socioeconomic status should never be the reason someone is incarcerated. Civil remedies such as diversion programs and community service are available for defendants, and I would encourage judges to use them exclusively.


Would you end or reform the Omnibase program, which is a city contract that allows the municipal court to put a hold on people renewing their drivers’ licenses if they have not paid City of Houston Municipal Court fines or fees?


Anthony Kirk Allen: No

Marlon A Christian: No

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Reform the program

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: No

Rashad Cave: The Omnibase program is extremely similar to the Driver Responsibility Program, which also suspends licenses for indigent individuals. The Texas Legislature just repealed the Driver Responsibility Program earlier this year, and I will lead the charge to do the same with the Omnibase program. Indigent defendants shouldn’t be thrust into cycles of debt for inability to pay fines.


More than 68,000 warrants for failure to appear and 23,000 warrants for failure to pay were issued by the Houston Municipal Court last year. Would you support reducing warrants for the arrest of people charged with Class C Misdemeanors who fail to appear in court or fail to pay a fine?


Anthony Kirk Allen: No

Marlon A Christian: I recommend a program to make them do a community service instead of paying a fine.

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: No

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: No

Rashad Cave: Yes. The fewer people that interact with the criminal justice system, the better. I would prefer we use diversion programs, community service, and other restorative and community-based justice measures.


Decriminalizing Homelessness

Most Texas cities currently criminalize people for activities they cannot control when they are homeless. For instance, the City of Houston has a "No Camping" ordinance, but no provision of what people can do if they are homeless. Other such offenses include No Sitting or No Lying in a public walkway.


Would you vote to decriminalize the daily activities of people experiencing homelessness?


Anthony Kirk Allen: No

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: I would recommend teh homeless person be examined by a trained physicial before incarceration is administered. I then would seek CD Funds to assist and get our homeless populatioin off the streets.

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: No. I oppose any policies that criminalize homelessness and do not comprehensively address the root cause of homelessness

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: I will work to decriminalize homelessness. The City of Houston’s approach to homelessness can not be to arrest the problem away. We must create opportunities for homeless people to rise up out of their situations and provide for themselves. I will work with the Mayor and Council to reduce the homeless population in a meaningful and responsible manner.


Cite and Release Policies

Texas state law allows local police departments to develop policies under which police may issue a citation instead of arresting someone for certain Class B and Class A Misdemeanors. Such "cite and release" eligible offenses include Driving with an Invalid License, Possession of Marijuana, and Theft (between $100 and $750). However, most city police departments lack policies that empower officers to use cite and release on a regular basis, and therefore, jails are filled with people who were booked in on these low-level, nonviolent offenses.


Will you ask the Houston Police Department to implement a broad cite and release policy?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes, However, those driving without a valid driver's license should not be allowed to drive away from the site.

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Its city council authority to make the laws in the city. The police's job is to enforce the law not make the law.

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes. It frees up space in the jail and lets officers put more time towards serious violent crimes. It takes about 2-3 hours to book someone and doing that for a non-violent offense and having violent offenders out there committing crimes during that time is crazy. I have talking to multiple people in law enforcement and they even believe in doing this as well.

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: I will gladly ask the Houston Police Department to implement broad cite and release policies. Limiting interactions with the criminal justice system is extremely important to everyday individuals as well as our local economy. Houstonians shouldn’t become permanently unemployable for petty, nonviolent infractions.


De-Escalation and Use of Force by the Police Department

Other government agencies control many aspects of criminal justice, but the Houston City Council has the most direct control over policing by the Houston Police Department.


Will you demand that the Houston Police Department make their “Use of Force” policies public?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: No

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Houston Police should publicize as much of all their policies, including “Use of Force”, as they safely can.  I will demand it.


Will you demand that the Houston Police Department revise its use of force policies to limit the use of choke holds and strangleholds to situations where deadly force is authorized?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: No

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Police should be educated on the lethality of all types of chokes and body positions. Better training will go a long way in preventing deaths during arrest and custody.

Will you demand that the Houston Police Department revise its use of force policies to require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before using force, especially deadly force?

Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: They are suppose to provide this policy to all citizens or arrestees

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: There is no reason not to give a verbal warning when it is safe to do so, especially in a deadly force situation.

Will you advocate that HPD revise its use of force policies to restrict shooting at moving vehicles unless the occupants of the vehicle are using deadly force?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Deadly force should only be used to meet deadly force. Shooting at vehicles for any other reason should be illegal.

Will you demand that the Houston Police Department revise its use of force policies to require that officers exhaust all other means before shooting?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.:

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Shooting should always be the last resort. There are lots of ways to subdue an individual without killing them.


Will you demand that the Houston Police Department revise its use of force policies to require officers to intervene and stop another officer from using excessive force?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes. Everyone should hold each other accountable. But, this will be difficult unless some sort of policy is put in place and the other officer is disciplined some how. Because police officer and firefighters are like a brotherhood. They tend to back each other up on everything which isnt a bad thing unless it hides the truth.

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Officers, when safe and practicable, should absolutely stop other officers from breaking any laws, including using excessive force.


Will you demand that the Houston Police Department revise its use of force policies to require officers to report all uses of force including threatening a civilian with a firearm?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes, Thats why police officers are suppose to have their body cameras on at all times.

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes, I dont know about all. That would be a considerable amount of reporting unless we limit it to deadly force.

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: We can only solve problems that we are aware of, and data helps us be aware of any problems with policing. I would absolutely support this requirement.

Will you demand that the Houston Police Department revise its use of force policies to require de-escalation of potentially fraught situations?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes, when necessary.

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave:  De-escalation saves lives. We must emphasize it.


Will you demand that the Houston Police Department revise its use of force policies to provide specific guidelines for when certain levels of force are authorized?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Im not familar with the current city policy.

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: If officers are clear on what they should and should not do, it will surely lead to more positive outcomes.

Will you work with the Houston Police Department to implement training in de-escalation techniques for all officers?

Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Absolutely. I will vote to provide them the resources they need to get better trained.

Will you commit to asking the Houston Police Department to develop a policy to release body worn camera video of critical incidents?

Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes, Immediately

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes, This is a must.

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Yes – a clear policy is necessary, and I would gladly work with HPD to develop one. I would also make sure HPD has the staff and resources to quickly produce the videos for requestors.

Informing people of their rights post-SB 4

SB 4 makes it illegal to instruct law enforcement not to cooperate with ICE.

Will you implement a policy so that before police ask about the immigration status of anyone they have lawfully detained, they inform such persons of their right to remain silent?

Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Any detained person should receive a full Miranda warning. That is non-negotiable.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)

Several cities across the country have begun using LEAD programs to avoid arresting people for offenses including prostitution, drug possession, and mental health issues. LEAD programs allow law enforcement officers to connect people directly to the services they need instead of arresting them.

Will you work with the Houston Police Department to implement a LEAD program?

Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes, I am all for a LEAD program but some of the crimes listed above have to be taken into account on severity and other factors, i.e. quantity of drugs, type of drugs, etc..

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Yes – this saves the City, county, and state valuable money and provides better outcomes for the accused. We cannot incarcerate our way out of mental health and substance abuse problems.

Police Accountability

The Houston Police union contract will be renegotiated in 2020.

Will you negotiate a new police union contract in 2020 that will end the mandatory waiting period before an interview begins in the instances of potential police misconduct?

Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Police should be treated the same as any other criminal suspect. Since private citizens don’t get a waiting period, neither should police.

Will you negotiate a new police union contract that will eliminate technical reasons for dismissing complaints, such as limited timeframes to report complaints and other issues like this?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: Yes

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Immaterial technicalities should never void a valid complaint. I will support changes that reduce technical dismissals.

Will you negotiate a new police union contract that will eliminate the practice of giving officers unfair access to information about complaints? For instance, in Houston, the current police union contract entitles officers to see witness statements *before interrogation*, a benefit that no ordinary defendant gets.

Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.:

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Yes. This completely undermines the integrity of any investigation.


Will you negotiate a new police union contract in 2020 that will ensure that there is full civilian oversight over the police department and disciplinary procedures?

Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.:

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes/No. I dont know about full civilian oversight because that's why we have internal affairs but that system may be corrupt so I firmly believe an independent civilian agency should be involved and have over ruling authority if there is a disagreement of the two.

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Transparency is necessary for an effective police department Civilian oversight is a strong encourager of transparency.

Will you negotiate a new police union contract that will ensure that misconduct is not erased from police records?


Anthony Kirk Allen: Yes

Marlon A Christian: Yes

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: Yes

Travis McGee: Yes

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.:

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Yes

Dr. Carla Brailey: Yes

Nissi Hamilton: Yes

Rashad Cave: Misconduct reports should follow police for the duration of their careers.


Tell us about your law enforcement and criminal justice priorities.

Of the issues listed above, what would be your top priority to work on? Why?


Anthony Kirk Allen: getting homeless and mentally ill people the necessary help instead of arrest. building a strong and consistent review board.

Marlon A Christian: I would like to revisit nearly everything that this questionnaire covered. However, my Top Priority would be the use of deadly force before exhausting all other mean policy and the body camera policies. I believe these policies are the most important to the community at this time.

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: As a person with a mental health background, my top priority would be implementing a LEAD program to help connect people directly to services. People who are involved in these types of offenses generally need assistance and arresting them serves no humane purpose while a direct connection and/or referral may put them on the road to recovery and/or intervention.

Travis McGee: Civilian Review board with subpoena power. Its needed to properly indict bad law enforcement.

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.:

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: The use of deadly force, particularly as it pertains to African Americans & Hispanics

Dr. Carla Brailey: The LEAD Programs. The programs reinforces community policing that would allow and have a shared responsibility of enhancing quality and opportunities for all residents, regardless of their background. Every person deserves a fair shot. Additionally, eliminating the practice of jailing people for failure to pay fines and fees to the municipal court. We do not want to create a quota-driven system that often preys on the working class.

Nissi Hamilton: I have been personally affected by many of the issues that were discussed and clearly the framework of HPD policy needs to be reworked. My top priority to work on is reworking a city ordinance that was written in 1993 that affects curfew violations for my community. Issuing juveniles curfew violations doesn't reduce juvenile crime; but what it does do is reveal to our officers who are patrolling our neighborhood that maybe there is a problem at home or this is an at risk youth; not an at risk criminal. In this case, the way this tool is used; it is not presented to the community as a tool to help at risk youth but to control at risk criminals. If you treat juveniles like they are criminals before getting to know them; then we are asking for juveniles to be criminals as they grow older because this side of law enforcement is the first relationship that we foster with them. We can not profile our children for their race or age or criminalize them for needing assistance. We don't have legal representation for children for crying out loud! Here's what I know; Juveniles housed in adult prisons are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than children housed in juvenile facilities. I would like to see us move to more juvenile diversion courts and special services for teenagers who are just being teenagers. I tell you one thing for sure; I have 7 children; 5 boys and 2 girls. No one is ever going to make me believe that my children and I won't have an argument and no one is ever going to make me believe that one of my kids one day will want to leave home because he or she doesn't like the rules in big momma's house. If my son or my daughter just so happens to leave the house because we had an argument and it's after the midnight and they are walking down the street; I don't want them ticketed for it! Bring my baby back home and maybe offer some counseling or tips for my kid to have a healthy relationship with his momma; keep up with him or her; check on them in school and foster some type of relationship so that the problem is minimized. I thought this was about the public service; to the community from the public servant; not just service to the community? This restriction feels very cheap and unorthodox.

Rashad Cave: My highest priority of the ones listed would be de-escalation training. It is so sad to see tragedies occur simply because aggression was met with more aggression. I will work to make sure that our police use methods that are as minimally physically damaging as possible. Tasers, bean bags, and rubber pellets are less lethal options that we should prioritize.


Are there any additional important issues of law enforcement and criminal justice that you want to push? Why? Please talk about specific policy changes you would seek.

Anthony Kirk Allen:

Marlon A Christian: Looking back at the overcrowded jails, the polices on cite and release or LEAD programs should be implemented at least on 1st time offenders and/or indigent citizens. I will really push to have a civilian agency to police the police especially in instances where force or deadly force were used along with the time frame for body cameras to be overturned to the civilian authorities. If a body camera is malfunctioning, take it out of service and replace it or take the officer out of service. There needs to be full accountability for all officers just as it is for civilians. No one is above the law.

Carolyn Evans-Shabazz: De-escalating training is of vital importance in preventing killing of citizens. I would support the revision of policy to require that police officers exhaust all other means before shooting.

Travis McGee: Community policing, racial profiling, end no knock warrants. Cite and release, minor drug offenses and petty crimes will not be priority of our very shorthanded police force. Decriminalization of the homeless, the homeless will no longer be criminalized for being homeless and citizens will not be penalized for helping them. Body Cams should be on the duration of the shift and released within 24 hrs or sooner.of any incident to the public.

Andrew C. Burks, Jr.: No, not at this time.

Kenyon Kirkpatrick Moore: Most of the issues were discussed except bail reform that is needed for all Texas Counties not just Harris County and select others.

Dr. Carla Brailey: The need for diversity and training that helps prepare them to work with more specialized populations such as those who have associated with mental illnesses and homelessness. Policy-wise, require police officers to wear on body cameras and have so many hours of diversity training.

Nissi Hamilton: I worked as a paralegal for many years and what I have learned is that CPS cases are criminal cases, but when parents are tried for criminal cases they have to get a separate attorney for family court and most parents do not have the money for two different types of attorneys. What happens is the parent has the pick which element of law is the most important one and usually it is not the element that deals with family court. If you can afford a criminal attorney a lot of the times the judge will deny you a family court attorney, which is wholly unfair, especially when dealing with parents who are completely innocent. When there are several children involved then often times the family court judge will appoint an attorney ad litem and the parent will have to pay the cost for this type of attorney as well. This separates the children from the parents; because now the child has attorney and eventually this leaves the parents broke. This happens a lot in my homeless community when parents are being sued by the state for being homeless with children. All it takes is one complaint from one citizen. This will explain why most of my women are in legal battles when homeless because they are being penalized for not having help. CPS are not allowed to take your children when you are in a shelter, but what happens when shelters get over crowded? For every one child that goes to the state of Texas 23 different people get paid, but somehow we can't seem to find a way to end homelessness? I would push for one attorney to be able to handle both cases to combine the legal eliminates that were made up by white supremacy instead of bifurcating the terms of the type of attorney that is used to keep parents from going broke and losing their children because they couldn't afford to fight for them. #FamilyOverFortune

Rashad Cave: 

  • I would like to increase enforcement of illegal dumping laws. Illegal dumping is a scourge in our community, and those that dump are getting more and more brazen.  Our communities deserve to be safe and clean, and I will work to make sure that there are plenty of police, cameras, and other tools being used in full force to discourage illegal dumping.

  • Cannabis decriminalization and restorative justice measures should be explored. Houstonians overwhelmingly support the idea of police focusing on more serious crimes such as burglary and sexual assault, rather than marijuana possession in small amounts. I will advocate that the legislature change these laws.

  • Bail reform hasn’t quite been completely accomplished, but we seem to be on the right track. Hopefully a settlement can soon be reached in the pending lawsuit.

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