HISD Officer Fired over Booklet

Jennifer Radcliffe, Houston Chronicle, October 26, 2007

A 34-year-old Houston Independent School District police officer was fired this week for creating and distributing a “Ghetto Handbook” to fellow police officers at a roll call meeting last spring, according to a report released Friday.

Roby Morris, a gang investigator who’s worked for HISD since 1999, was placed on paid leave in late August for handing out an eight-page pamphlet with “ebonics” definitions—something he told district investigators he did to get back at one of his bosses.

He explained that he is married to a black woman and that together they have three biracial children, according to the report on the investigation.

But HISD officials said that doesn’t excuse the offensive publication.

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About a dozen employees received a copy of the pamphlet—subtitled “Wucha dun din now”—at a May 23 roll call meeting at Barnett Stadium. The document tells officers that learning the definitions will allow them to speak “as if you just came out of the hood.”

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The report also said that Morris’ supervisors spoke to him shortly after the incident and issued a written reprimand in June.

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But some activists said they don’t plan to let the issue rest. They plan to push HISD to take action against Morris’ supervisors, including the police chief, for not issuing a harsher punishment in the spring.

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