LUBBOCK — Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec announced the launch of an external administrative review of policies and procedures within Tech’s police department following the death of Officer Floyd East Jr. in a shooting Monday evening.
The Lubbock Police Department is now leading the criminal investigation into the shooting, while this administrative review will analyze Tech police procedures during a Tech student’s arrest on a drug charge and events leading up to the shooting.
Schovanec’s announcement came through a statement Thursday morning just ahead of a Lubbock Police Department news conference providing new details about the shooting. Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens responded to multiple questions during the news conference by saying information will be discovered during Tech’s administrative review.
Such questions include how thorough the student was searched — Stevens confirmed the student was searched — why he was not handcuffed while East completed the booking paperwork, and why it took 35 minutes for students to be alerted that a shooter was at large.
These were not addressed during Tech’s news conference the day after the shooting.
Tech student Hollis Daniels III, 19, has been charged with capital murder in connection with East’s death. He was arrested Monday evening after Tech police say he shot East at the Tech police department as the officer was processing him after a drug-related arrest.
“In light of the tragic loss of life that we have experienced, it is appropriate that we conduct a post-event review process that will include a thorough review of our policies and practices to enhance the safety and security of our students, our police and the entire campus community,” Schovanec said in the release sent Thursday.. “The members of the Texas Tech Police Department provide exemplary service to our university in a professional manner. This review in no way diminishes the great appreciation we have for the excellent job they do.”
He added: “Also, because the shooting death involves one of our officers, we have asked the Lubbock Police Department to serve as an independent law enforcement agency to perform the criminal investigation.”
East, 48, was a native of El Paso who started his career with the Tech PD on Dec. 2, 2014, as a guard at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso. While there, he attended the El Paso Community College Law Enforcement Academy to obtain his basic peace officer license. On May 1, nearly a year after obtaining that license, he transferred to the Lubbock campus and completed the field training program in Lubbock. He completed this program on August 31, a little more than a month before the incident this week.
Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens led the most recent news conference on Thursday, where he gave updates on the criminal investigation but little on the administrative policies. He referred those questions to Tech, whose officials say they’re investigating it themselves.
“I think at the appropriate time (Tech) will have some of those answers for you,” Stevens said Thursday.
But Stevens did allude to some details.
Speaking on how the student had a weapon at the police station, Stevens said, unfortunately, the student was able to gain access to a weapon. He was also asked about why the student wasn’t handcuffed, and after deferring the questions to Tech, said broadly that there are reasons as to why a suspect could have his or her handcuffs taken off — such as to sign a document, to use the restroom or to make a phone call.
“It’s not out of the ordinary, it’s not wrong to unhandcuff a person that’s in custody, and it’s not a sticking point,” Stevens said. “I think that I can say that to hopefully put to rest some of the large issues that people have with this particular incident without necessarily making a judgment call on this incident. That’s going to be for the Texas Tech Police Department at the appropriate time.”
Texas Tech Spokesperson Chris Cook said Tech will release information about who will complete their external administration review, plus the expected timeline of when it should be complete, in the coming days.