HOUSTON - Three African-American guys walk into a bar, but definitely not the Gaslamp bar in midtown.
On September 11, three black men were allegedly asked by the doorman to pay a $20 cover while, they claim, white folks were welcomed in, free of charge. The incident triggered a lot of anger on social media, especially because a Harris County Sheriff's deputy was working off-duty for the bar, and did not intervene.
"I was questioning him about how is he allowing these practices to happen," said Brandon Ball, "and he was saying: well I'm doing my job, they're doing theirs… it's not really related."
Now the Harris County Sheriff's office has prohibited its deputies from working off-duty jobs at the Gaslamp; just as HPD did before.
"It's not surprising," expressed Joseph Gamaldi, the Houston Police Officer's Union Second VP. "Due to the accusations that are going on which it's still yet to be ironed down and see what actually went on there, it would not surprise me at all that the Houston Police Department limits anybody from working at that location."
So, as a general rule: what are the guidelines for law enforcement agents taking off-duty jobs?
"When our officers participate in off-duty jobs, they're not there to enforce house rules: they're there to enforce the laws of the State of Texas and the City of Houston, so they'll operate within those parameters," he concluded.
Unlawful discrimination is unacceptable. So, in conclusion: whether or not they're on the clock, there's an ethical bar for deputies working off-duty jobs, even at the bar.