A veteran Houston police officer who was participating with a cooking team at the Houston rodeo’s Bar-B-Que cookoff has been relieved of duty for reportedly tossing a tear gas canister to booth opponents during the popular event, sickening several patrons.
Senior police officer Mike Hamby, 51, was relieved of duty with pay on Monday while he is under investigation for “criminal allegations,“ said HPD spokeswoman Jodi Silva. The nature of allegations against Hamby are under investigation by the internal affairs department and will not be disclosed, Silva said.
At the Houston Police Officer Union, where Hamby is a member of the board of directors, president Gary Blankinship said he had no comment on the officer’s suspension.
Ok, so this good ol’ boy is packing up for the cookoff and decides to take along some tear gas?
Mike DeMarco, executive director for the rodeo, said he was informed by Assistant Chief Don McKinney before Hamby’s suspension that HPD was investigating the incident.
“Chief McKinney stopped me in parking lot and said had I heard of an incident in Bar-B-Que cookoff area, this is what I’ve been told, but don’t have confirmation,“ DeMarco said. “He said our IAD is investigating it.”
Shafer and DeMarco both said use of tear gas during rodeo events is not permitted, and they would have filed criminal charges against a citizen who released the gas.
“I can’t think that we could punish him any more than HPD can, but how stupid can an individual be,“ DeMarco said. “If it was John Q. Public, we would arrest then press the full charges that the law would allow.”
That may be a bid premature. Perhaps our tear gas B-B-Q warrior will face a jury of his peers yet.