According to AOL news, nearly two months after the Midland Police Department learned of the game, the two officers were suspended for three days without pay, according to findings of the internal affairs investigation obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request. The investigation found the two officers, Derek Hester and Daniel Zoelzer, violated the department's professional standards of conduct. There is no ordinance against panhandling in Midland, an oil-boom city of more than 110,000 where a recent count put the homeless number at about 300. About a quarter of those are transient.
"The fact that they are making sport out of collecting the personal property of homeless individuals could be seen as them targeting these individuals for discriminatory harassment, simply holding a sign is absolutely a protected part of our free speech." said Cassandra Champion, an attorney in the Odessa office of the Texas Civil Rights Project.
According to the investigation report eight signs were found in the trunk of Hester's patrol car on November 20 and Zoelzer had thrown about ten signs he had confiscated into a city trash container after Hester called him to warn him he had been reprimanded by his superior for having the signs. The two told the internal affairs investigator, that they were issuing criminal trespass warnings when they took the signs. But according to the report, no homeless people were issued criminal trespass warnings by either officer in 2013. Most of those warnings in Midland are written, but some are verbal.
Police Chief Price Robinson said the actions were an isolated incident in a department of 186 officers and didn’t deserve a harsher punishment. After the investigation of all officers were reminded to respect individual rights and human dignity, he said.
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Stephen "TheeBlackSocialite" Hale