Clint Greenwood was a lawman with a law degree. He was a prosecutor, criminal defense lawyer, gunsmith, accomplished shooter, husband, dad, and friend. On the morning of Monday, April 3, Clint, in his Harris County Precinct 3 Constable uniform, was ambushed at the Harris County Baytown Courthouse Annex. Life Flight immediately responded and rushed Clint to Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Jim Leitner, Chief of the Intake and Grand Jury Bureau at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, was instantly notified that an officer involved shooting had occurred in Baytown. This is routine protocol for officer involved shootings. Regrettably, this message failed to explain that Clint, Jim’s best friend, was the victim.
Jim and Steve Clappert, Chief Investigator at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, rushed to meet Clint at Memorial Hermann. Jim asked a nurse about Clint and, not knowing her audience, the nurse responded that they were not releasing any information until the medical examiner’s office arrived. Jim and Steve knew what that meant.
Pat Lykos, a reformer, was elected Harris County District Attorney in 2008. Clint was part of this reform and joined the Lykos administration as the Chief of the Police Integrity Division. Clint Greenwood spent much of his career as a criminal defense lawyer and his practice focused on defending police officers accused of crimes. As Chief of Police Integrity, Clint used his experience to investigate and prosecute law enforcement. This position is tough duty. Previously, certain folks had used this position for political purposes; so, it was crucial to have an honest, genuine, knowledgeable person leading the charge. Clint Greenwood became part of a brain trust at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office that included Jim Leitner, Don McWilliams, and many others brought in by Lykos.
Clint’s funeral was very emotional for those who care about true justice in Harris County. The sea of law enforcement from Texas, Louisiana, New York, California, and just about every major jurisdiction in the United States was incredible. I want every officer who attended Clint’s funeral to know how much the good people of Harris County appreciated their attendance. Judge Lykos and I spoke after the funeral and commented that, to our knowledge, Clint Greenwood was the highest ranking police official assassinated in this country in our lifetime. I am 56 years old and Judge Lykos cannot be a day older than 27.
Policing the police can get complicated very quickly. The Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU) spends millions of dollars defending their officers against criminal prosecution. Elected officials spend thousands of hours working to get the endorsement of police unions. The absence of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and state officials from Clint’s funeral was glaring and should not go unreported. The next time you hear Ray Hunt or another police union official criticizing groups for lack of community support or complaining about a police protest, ask them if they attended Clint Greenwood’s funeral. Every member of Harris County Commissioners Court did attend Clint’s funeral.
A large number of employees from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office attended Clint’s funeral. Clint served as a major in charge of internal affairs after the Andersons fired him when they took control of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office following a very controversial election. The Andersons were heavily supported by the HPOU and Devon went out with a party at HPOU headquarters. Yet, even she attended Clint’s funeral.
Our community has truly come together to honor Clint’s life. On April 10, Keith Sullins, Papa John’s Houston Pizza Venture President, donated all proceeds to the Greenwood family. Quite a gesture, indeed! Michael Berry interviewed Mr. Sullins and helped to promote this event. Papa John’s Pizza will always have my business.
Jim Leitner and Tim Cannon, Clint’s lifelong friend from Spring Branch, honored Clint by their eulogies. Clint Greenwood was a brilliant person and loved his work. As Jim said, if the Lord came down and breathed life into Clint, there is no doubt that he would get up, kiss his family, and put on his police uniform to return to work.
Clint’s murder was senseless and the result of a mentally unstable person’s obsession with a case that was meaningless to anyone but him. Clint Greenwood stood for that ever bending arc towards justice. Please continually pray for peace and strength for Clint’s family, friends, and Harris County.
I leave you with the words of Don McWilliams, Clint’s friend and former Chief Investigator at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office:
“I hardly ever post or comment on FB anymore, but this…I have struggled to find the words, and I have nothing to do justice to the smartest guy I have ever known. The closest thing to an eidetic memory I have ever seen, an amazing speed-reader who remembered everything he read. I loaned him books and he’d bring them back the next morning ready to discuss intricate plot twists and to recite dialogue. Clint was always hilarious, charismatic, wise, and tremendously kind, although he didn’t seek recognition for it and would probably chew me out for telling everyone how infinitely decent he was. Yes, he knew a lot of bigshots, hotshots and VIPs by name, but the bigger indication of who he was is that he also knew the waiter who filled his coffee cup and the lady who emptied his trash. And he greeted them, by name, not from a position from on high, but right here at eye level, the way we humans are supposed to know each other. It was my pleasure to receive his wisdom, insight and good humor over about 1000 gallons of bull-strong coffee on many early mornings. To all who knew him, may God grant you strength in the days ahead, and in time, peace and grace as you reflect on time shared with this extraordinary man.”