Houston Police(l), Alex Rosen(r)

Grindstone Media Group/Shutterstock iFightForKids/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘We’re always trying to recruit him’: Houston police union praises vigilante with history of using racial slurs

The Houston Police Officers’ Union stands by its posts praising self-proclaimed “Predator Poacher” Alex Rosen.


Steven Monacelli


Posted on Dec 27, 2023

The Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU) recently praised a vigilante child predator hunter with a history of using racial slurs and said it has tried to recruit him to police work.

“Predator Poachers” founder Alex Rosen, 23, is a part of a growing national trend of vigilantes who film their stings, promote them on social media, and claim to be putting child predators behind bars. Rosen also has a history of using racial slurs.

“Alex Rosen is a great guy and we’re always trying to recruit him to our agency,” HPOU wrote on Dec. 7, then encouraged people to follow his account.

HPOU’s post caused quite a stir both online and off.

Within hours, the union’s post was flooded with criticisms pointing out Rosen’s past use of racial slurs, specifically the N-word. (Regarding his use of the slur, Rosen told Insider in 2021 that “it obviously looks bad” but he has “no hatred in my heart towards any group of people.”)

On Friday Dec. 8, Rosen reacted to criticisms of HPOU’s tweet by showing up at the offices of the Houston Chronicle with a film crew in tow. Rosen was there to confront Jen Rice, a reporter at the newspaper, for her supposedly “mean tweets” about him. Rosen wrote that Rice hadn’t been in the office at the time, adding ominously, “Talk soon, Jen.”

That morning, Rice had posted a juxtaposition of two images on X: a screenshot of Rosen’s post touting a confrontation he staged outside the home of an internationally renowned vaccine scientist, and a screenshot of HPOU’s tweet praising Rosen and saying it had tried to recruit him to the police force.

HPOU subsequently deleted its post, only to put up another on Dec. 9 that said they “still hold that [Rosen] should apply with our agency or ANY other law enforcement agency in Texas.”

HPOU restricted the second tweet so only those who subscribe to X premium could comment.

The efforts of cyber vigilantes like Rosen have been both lauded and criticized, including by law enforcement.

Chris Seufert, the lead prosecutor for the Houston Metro ICAC task force, told the Daily Dot that virtually all of the cases that cyber vigilantes like Rosen have referred to law enforcement in the Houston area are not prosecutable.

“He just makes our work harder,” Seufert said. “He doesn’t make kids safer. I can’t express in stark enough terms how irresponsible I think organizations like [Rosen’s] are… As a general rule, what they do is so incompetent. It’s for clicks online, and maybe it gets clicks. But it’s not making kids safer, it’s not resulting in prosecutable cases, and it’s dangerous.”

Rosen’s vigilantism isn’t the only thing that concerns Seufert. 

“I think anybody who’s expressed any kind of racial animus has no business being a law enforcement officer anywhere ever, period,” Seufert said. “I think that is a disqualifying characteristic for a police officer.”

Seufert’s concerns about cyber vigilantes were echoed by Houston Councilperson Mary Nan Huffman, who previously worked as the lead ICAC prosecutor for the Houston Metro area and currently works on the HPOU legal team.

“I can’t see a legitimate law enforcement agency encouraging that kind of behavior,” Huffman said.

The Daily Dot reviewed three videos Rosen posted within the last four years. Two of the videos show Rosen saying the N-word multiple times. A third video shows Rosen prank calling a hotline associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, in which he pretends to be Black and jokes about pedophilia. More recently, Rosen has made racially disparaging remarks on social media, such as an Aug, 16 post that says “trap houses and drug plugs are my favorite things about black culture.”

When reached for comment, Rosen refused to answer questions over the phone, via video call, or in writing. Instead, he posted about the comment request on social media, and then offered to travel to meet this reporter for an in-person, on-camera interview on Christmas Eve.

Publicly, Rosen has recently obfuscated his use of the N-word. In a Dec. 8 video that Rosen filmed outside the offices of the Houston Chronicle, he claimed he had been “reciting rap lyrics” and saying the word “vinegar.”

In an interview with the Daily Dot, HPOU President Douglas Griffith downplayed his organization’s posts that praised Rosen, which he said were a product of a chance meeting between Rosen and HPOU social media staff at a gun range event promoted by a number of gun-obsessed YouTube personalities—including Brandon Herrera, a Republican congressional candidate who police say recently left an inactive explosive device at an event in Uvalde, prompting a visit from the San Antonio Police Department bomb squad. Griffith also said that he’d been told by his staff that Rosen’s use of racial slurs had something to do with rap lyrics, echoing Rosen’s claim.

Griffith also took aim at Rice.

“I don’t know why, other than the fact that some Chronicle reporter who didn’t have the guts to call and talk to me personally, we are going to make a big deal about this,” Griffith said. “I stand by my social media team, absolutely 100%.”

When pressed on Rosen’s unwelcome visit to the Houston Chronicle, and the clear examples of Rosen’s use of racial slurs, Griffith criticized Rosen’s actions in qualified terms.

“I disagree completely, wholeheartedly, 100% with [Rosen] going down [to the Houston Chronicle office],” Griffith said. “That was an ignorant move, and he should never have done it. He should never have used the N-word. It was an ignorant move and he should never have done it. Does that mean he’s a bad individual? Not necessarily.”

Griffith also denounced both racism and vigilantism in the abstract, but demurred when it came to applying those specific criticisms to the vigilante his social media team had endorsed.

“We would never condone anyone that is racist or has racist views,” Griffith said. “[But] we don’t believe that this guy is racist. We don’t think he has racist views.”

Griffith told the Daily Dot he would “probably” remove the HPOU social media post that suggested Rosen should be a police officer. As of this writing, the post has not been deleted.

“If he’s going after child predators, I really don’t care,” Griffith said. “If he has the ability to get a child predator off the streets, more power to him.”

Rosen isn’t merely a vigilante child predator hunter. He’s also a right-wing political provocateur who has been forcefully removed after creating disruptions at numerous rallies for liberal politicians and causes across the state, including a Hillary Clinton speaking event in Houston in October and an anti-NRA protest in Houston in April 2022. Rosen, an avowed fan of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, also has a track record of promoting unfounded conspiratorial ideas, such as the debunked Pizzagate human trafficking theory.

“Yep. Pizzagate is real,” Rosen wrote on X on Nov. 29.

According to Ron DeLord, a former police officer turned police union labor relations consultant, Rosen’s political leanings are likely a reason why HPOU leadership is so reluctant to distance itself from him.

“If you were to go through the police department, there’d probably be a large percentage, at least among white officers, who support [Rosen],” DeLord said. “They probably support Alex Jones and they would definitely support Trump…. If you were to go to most policemen, I don’t think they’d believe that January 6 was an insurrection, despite the fact there’s all the video of people attacking police.”

DeLord told the Daily Dot that he thinks police unions need to move back toward the center, stay focused on labor issues, and stop associating with controversial figures like Rosen.

“They say that they don’t believe in racism,” DeLord said. “But when you put your name with some guy who is [using slurs], you’ll get some blowback. You have to set aside your personal political beliefs and those of the membership and you have to be able to try to refocus on what’s our purpose here.”

The HPOU president’s unwillingness to distance the union from a cyber vigilante with a history of using racial slurs was not well received by Houston City Councilperson Tiffany Thomas. Thomas was already aware of Rosen due to him trolling during public comment at multiple Houston City Council meetings—including one instance when he posed as the head of a non-profit and made stereotypical remarks about undocumented migrants.

“I think Griffith clearly needs some self-reflection and I’m really disappointed in hearing his comments,” Thomas told the Daily Dot. “The police department has an obligation to protect and serve all citizens.”

“There’s no way that Rosen would have the same integrity and character of the cadets that are choosing to serve the city. And we don’t need anyone in any position of influence or leadership intimating that you can have poor integrity and represent the city of Houston.”

Send Hi-Res story tips and suggestions here.

Share this article
*First Published: Dec 27, 2023, 10:47 am CST