Police Brutality and Misconduct Is Not Just a Problem, It’s Illegal!
Police News On Police Brutality and Police Misconduct In Texas
08/24/2005 – Arlington and Fort Worth police pursued an off-duty Dallas police officer Monday afternoon after she fled her Arlington home.
Tracey Nichols, a six-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, led officers through the two cities before crashing and stopping on U.S. Highway 287.
The chase started about 4 p.m. after a relative called Arlington police requesting a welfare check at a home in the 5600 block of Colebrook Trail, Arlington police Sgt. David Stevens said.
“When Arlington police officers arrived at the location, the subject emerged, ran into a pickup truck and fled,” Fort Worth police spokesman Lt. Dean Sullivan said.
Police pursued the truck through residential streets and onto northbound Highway 287, westbound Interstate 20 and back onto northbound Highway 287. Fort Worth police joined the chase near northbound Highway 287 at Miller Avenue.
Officer Nichols then struck a guardrail near Highway 287 and Maddox Street. She stopped soon afterward.
“Our officers received information from Arlington police that the subject was potentially suicidal, and police staged accordingly,” Lt. Sullivan said.
Authorities did not make any sudden moves until they saw Officer Nichols slump over her steering wheel. Fort Worth police then rushed to the truck, broke the window and pulled her out.
Officer Nichols was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital with an injured leg. She was being treated in the hospital’s intensive-care unit, hospital officials said.
Dallas police spokesman Gil Cerda said Officer Nichols was most recently assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division. It was unclear what would happen with her employment status. Police said Officer Nichols has been on injury leave since January, but it was unclear what the injury was.
Sgt. Stevens and Lt. Sullivan said they did not know why Officer Nichols may have been suicidal. Sgt. Stevens said she could face a charge of evading arrest and detention, depending on her medical and mental state at the time.
“If there was some medical condition that caused this, we can’t file charges,” Sgt. Stevens said.
07/13/2005 – A Bay City man who worked as both a Bay City police officer and a Matagorda County deputy sheriff pleaded guilty to retaliation in a sexual assault case Monday.
Raymond DeLeon was indicted by a Matagorda County grand jury in December 2004 for sexually assaulting a woman in retaliation for losing his job as a city patrol officer, according to court documents.
The woman’s injuries from the incident in late June 2004 required medical treatment, records show.
DeLeon resigned from the police department in August of 2002 in connection with an internal investigation of a sexual affair he had with the same woman while working there, according to court and city documents.
He was employed by the sheriff’s department when he committed the retaliation offense a year ago in June, records show.
DeLeon was arrested shortly after the incident and was held in the Matagorda County Jail on a $150,000 bail — it was later reduced to $60,000.
He never made bail and has been in custody for more than a year.
DeLeon pleaded guilty to the retaliation charge — a third degree felony — and was sentenced in Judge Craig Estlinbaum’s 130th District Court to 10 years in prison Monday.
A 10-year prison term is the maximum penalty for a third degree felony.
“Mr. DeLeon committed this offense while he was a public servant. He victimized the woman against whom he retaliated as well as victimizing the people of this community who relied upon him for protection,” said District Attorney Steven Reis.
“He is paying the price for violating the people’s trust in him.”
07/09/2005 – TEXAS — A sheriff’s deputy charged with interference with duties of a police officer is free on bond, but is off the job, at least temporarily.
Chief Deputy Freddie Poor said Danny Floyd Allen was on paid administrative leave from the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office as of Thursday morning. Around the same time, Allen, who worked in the county jail, found himself on the other side of the booking process before posting $1,500 in bail.
Galveston police reports allege that Allen, 30, was part of a group of people standing in a parking lot outside a closed nightclub, in the 2800 block of Avenue R about 2:20 a.m. Tuesday.
Allen’s family owns the club. Sheriff’s office Capt. Don Allen, the younger Allen’s father, said the group outside was waiting for him to finish closing up.
Galveston patrol officer Chad Powers saw the group, pulled up to the club and ordered the group to clear the area, according to police reports. Many of the people in the parking lot complied with that request. A smaller group did not, Powers’ report states.
Powers ended up arguing with a man in a black shirt, who the report accused of refusing the police officer’s commands.
The elder Allen said his son was only trying to tell Powers that they were part of the family that owned the place and were waiting for it to finish closing.
The man in the black shirt reportedly told one of the men with him to go back inside the club. Powers told him not to because it was closed, according to police reports.
Don Allen said it appeared to him Powers was looking for a confrontation.
“I guarantee you, if this was 20 minutes after Gaido’s closed on the Seawall, and there was a group of young men standing around, this would not have happened the same way,” Allen said.
After the other man continued to ignore Powers and headed back towards the club, Powers told him he was under arrest, according to reports. When he continued moving away from the police officer, Powers grabbed his arm, according to the report.
At that point, the man in the black shirt grabbed Powers’ arm, according to police reports.
Powers eventually called for backup, and more officers arrived within minutes. Police made no arrests at the scene. However, a two-day criminal investigation began, ending Thursday with the charge against Allen, as well as an evading arrest charge against his cousin, Leonard Tottenham.
The criminal investigation could lead to two internal investigations. The sheriff’s office’s investigation would likely take a week to 10 days, Poor said. Police Chief Kenneth Mack said his agency would begin a full internal investigation upon receiving the formal complaint that Don Allen told The Daily News his son would file.
Don Allen said his youngest son was also present, and was one of several outside whom the officer temporarily disabled with pepper spray even though he was not arrested.
Mack said officers were not in the habit of blasting people with pepper spray without cause. He also said people in the immediate area of blasts of pepper spray could also feel their effects, even though they were not targets.
“I have not yet read the full report of the incident, so I can’t say what happened in this specific instance, and I don’t know who all might have felt the effects of the spray,” he said.
Interfering with public duties, the official charge Danny Allen faces, carries a possible jail term of up to 180 days. A conviction on that charge could also mean the suspension of Allen’s peace officer’s license for up to 10 years, said officials with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.
07/09/2005 – TEXAS — San Antonio Police Chief Albert Ortiz in an afternoon news conference announced the arrest of San Antonio Police Officer Dean Gutierrez on an allegation of aggravated sexual assault.
According to a police affidavit, the police officer is accused of forcing a man to engage in sexual acts on June 10 in the 700 block of Hazel Street.
The victim was at a bus stop at South Laredo and Zarzamora streets when an officer approached and asked him if he had any warrants, according to the affidavit.
After discovering that the man had a warrant, the police officer told him to get in the car or go to jail, the affidavit stated. The officer then took the man to the Hazel Street location and forced him to have sex, according to the affidavit.
07/09/2005 – TEXAS — A Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy who had been on administrative leave for an arrest two years ago has been arrested again, News 4 WOAI learned Wednesday.
News 4 WOAI uncovered the story first at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Twenty-six-year-old Uvaldo Aviles is facing theft charges. He has been on administrative leave since 2003. Aviles was arrested then on charges he assaulted his wife, officials said.
Since then, Aviles has been working as a carpenter. Investigators said Aviles and a co-worker attempted to steal a new clothes dryer from a house under construction. They were stopped before they left, officials said.
“They got pulled over by the construction foreman and since they didn’t have an explanation as to why the dryer was in the back of the truck, he held them until police arrived,” Dep. Chief Amadeo Ortiz told News 4 WOAI.
Aviles’ assault charge is still pending. If convicted of the theft, Aviles could get eight years in jail, authorities said.
07/02/2005 – More than three dozen Texas Department of Public Safety trooper trainees, including one who died in May, have received concussions and other head injuries in the past eight years, according to documents obtained by the Austin American-Statesman.
Most of the injuries occurred in boxing matches between the trainees.
A safety officer who was at the scene of the May 19 fight in which Jimmy Ray Carty Jr. received an injury that later killed him said in sworn statements that she had expressed concern about how some recruits were wearing safety helmets. A lieutenant also had suggested that Carty be matched with a recruit more similar in size, records show.
Some of the other 40 trainees have suffered from chronic headaches, prolonged vomiting, blood clots and other neurological problems after concussions and other injuries, according to the documents, which include incident reports, witness statements and insurance claims obtained through Texas open records laws.
One prospective trooper, Michael Bogue of Marshall, received two concussions within three weeks. Bogue, 28, who had worked as a police officer in the East Texas town of Waskom before applying to DPS, said the second caused him to begin having seizures. He has since had to learn to walk again.
“They have ruined my life,” he said. “What they do is wrong.”
The documents and number of injuries raise questions about the training procedures that have become a tradition since the academy opened in 1935. The facility is on the agency’s large campus near the intersection of Lamar Boulevard and Koenig Lane in North Austin and has trained about 1,200 recruits in the past eight years.
DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange and at least two troopers who have been injured said boxing exercises — they call them “active counter-measures” and “defensive tactics” — are necessary to prepare troopers. Unlike municipal police officers, troopers often patrol desolate highways, with the nearest backup miles away.
During boxing and other high-risk exercises, officials said, recruits are suited in protective gear, including new helmets bought for each training class.
“There are people we hire who have never been in a childhood fight,” said Sgt. Brian Hawthorne, president of the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association. “This training is so vital.”
DPS trainee head injuries since 1997
Date Name Age Injury Official cause
Nov. 18 Mitchell J. Jones 21 concussion Struck while practicing “active countermeasures”
Dec. 4 Travis B. Odom 22 concussion Struck while practicing “active countermeasures”
Nov. 3 Joseph Dee Hill 24 blood clot Struck while boxing; later diagnosed with clot in brain
Dec. 1 Lucian Ebrom 22 concussion Struck while boxing
Mario H. Campbell 27 concussion Struck while boxing
Bradley S. Crews 23 concussion Struck during “defensive tactics fighting”
Leroy Torres 26 concussion Struck during “defensive tactics”
Leopoldo Sanchez 24 concussion Struck while boxing
David Crowder Jr. 28 concussion Hit head on mat after being knocked to ground
Nov. 10 Jesse R. Flores 27 concussion Struck while practicing “active counter measures”
Shaheen Moayed-Pardazi 26 poss. concussion Struck while boxing
Timothy R. Legget 26 poss. concussion Struck while practicing “active countermeasures”
Gabriel F. Huber 27 concussion Hit head on mat after blow to head during “active countermeasures”
Janet A. Martin 28 concussion Struck while practicing “active countermeasures”
Michael D. Vennell 26 concussion Struck while practicing “active countermeasures”
Mar. 20 Zachary S. Nichols 22 concussion Struck during “defensive tactics”
David M. Hendry 27 concussion Kneed in head by fellow trainee
Unknown 26 concussion Dropped on head while “grappling,” then struck in head
Steven D. Schwartz 29 concussion Struck while boxing
William C. Werkmeister 32 concussion Struck during “defensive tactics”
Joshua O. Ray 22 concussion Struck during “defensive tactics”
Derek D. Evans 28 concussion Fell while boxing
Jan. 16 Alda J. Rubio 29 concussion Struck while boxing.
May 5 William R. Eller 31 concussion Struck while boxing
May 15 Jynie Ha 31 concussion Struck while boxing
May 22 Bobby L. Marquez 29 concussion Struck while boxing
May 22 Robert M. Willoughby 23 concussion Struck while boxing
May 22 Travis B. Wroten 23 concussion “Grappling” with fellow trainee
May 22 Joshua B. Senn 22 concussion Struck while boxing
May 28 Steven C. Blanco 22 concussion Struck while boxing
Dec. 16 John R. Bradley II 24 concussion Struck while wrestling
Dec. 16 Bradley J. Vallet 28 concussion Struck while boxing
Feb. 2 Scott M. Schwab 32 concussion Struck while boxing
Alexander N. Goch 24 concussion Struck while boxing
Michael G. Bogue 27 concussion Struck while boxing
Noel M. Ramos 28 concussion Struck while boxing
Clayton C. Carrington 24 concussion Struck while boxing
Michael G. Bogue 27 concussion Struck while boxing
Kyle W. Cook 23 concussion Struck while boxing
Michael J. D’Elia 49 concussion Struck while boxing
One trainee is not included on the list because of incomplete information. Source: Texas Department of Public Safety.
TYLER — Federal charges against a Chicago man caught with more than 2 kilograms of heroin while riding an Amtrak train through Gregg County were dropped Monday.
On Oct. 24, U.S. District Judge William M. Steger ruled Gregg County narcotics agents illegally detained and searched Jonathan Dockens, 53, so he can’t be prosecuted for the heroin found in his Amtrak sleeping compartment.
Two Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement unit agents, Ron Buckner and Rob Bowen, detained and questioned Dockens as he traveled through the county March 2 on a train from Los Angeles to Chicago. They arrested him after they found 2,300 grams of heroin in a duffel bag in his sleeping compartment, according to testimony at a July 24 hearing before Steger at the Tyler federal courthouse.
Steger’s order says Dockens was confined in a small area while Buckner questioned him and wouldn’t have felt free to decline Buckner’s requests for consent to search the compartment.
The seizure was not supported by “a reasonable and articulable suspicion” that Dockens was involved in criminal activity, the order says. In addition, the government failed to prove Dockens voluntarily gave consent to search and wasn’t coerced into giving it, the order says.
Robert Harshaw, administrator for the Gregg CODE unit, said Monday he respected Steger’s decision.
“Of course, it’s based on interpretation of the audiotape,” Harshaw said.
A tape of Buckner’s questioning of Dockens was played during the July 24 hearing. Though Buckner said Dockens gave him permission to search the compartment, Steger, after listening to the recording, disagreed.
The judge’s order says Buckner asked, “Would you object to a search of your room?” to which Dockens replied, “Yeah!”
Buckner took this as consent, asked Dockens to step out of the compartment and searched it, finding the heroin in a duffel bag under Dockens’ bed.
Harshaw said Steger’s ruling is unlikely to change the procedure used by CODE agents to question suspected drug traffickers on Amtrak, though it may change the agents’ “demeanor.”
“I’m sure the questions will be more pointed and more specific,” he said.
In questioning suspected drug traffickers, some mistakes will occur, Harshaw said.
Still, “We took more than 41/2 pounds of black tar heroin off the streets” by arresting Dockens, he said.
In the July 24 hearing, Buckner said he and Bowen ride Amtrak trains six days a week and single out one to five passengers of the 200 or so on each train for questioning.
The confiscated drugs are the only evidence against Dockens, according to a March 13 federal indictment charging him with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
“It’s unfortunate that the officers were interfered with and distracted to a degree that kept them from doing what they normally do,” she said.
Testimony at the July 24 suppression hearing showed an Amtrak employee confronted the CODE agents shortly after they began questioning Dockens.
Most of the heroin seized from Dockens had been destroyed by the U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration before Steger’s ruling, Curry said. A representative sample was kept as evidence for Dockens’ trial. It now will be kept for a certain amount of time and then destroyed, too, she said.
Dockens was released from the Smith County Jail Monday.
Texas – He was supposed to serve and protect. Instead, a San Antonio police officer is losing his badge.
“This was a bad officer. He needed to be off the force. He loses his job and he cannot be a police officer anywhere ever again,” said Cliff Herberg.
Back in October of 2003, Officer Fernando Frias was charged with aggravated assault, for allegedly raping a 45-year-old woman on the southwest side while he was on duty.
On Wednesday he pled to a lesser charge, official oppression, which means Frias’ conduct was considered unacceptable when he made the decision to have sex with a woman while on duty.
“It definitely puts a stain on the badge. It’s something we have to recover from publicly,” said Stewart.
In addition to losing his badge, Frias will be under house arrest for six months, and will have to pay a fine of $1,500.
NOVEMBER 27, 2002 – Former Dallas Police Officer Sentenced to 99 Years Imprisonment United States Attorney Jane J. Boyle announced today former Dallas Police Officer, Michael Sillemon, was sentenced this morning by the Honorable United States Senior District Judge Barefoot Sanders to serve a total of 99 years imprisonment, without parole, as a result of his conviction by a federal jury in August 2002 on various bank robbery and related charges.
Sillemon, age 36, of DeSoto, Texas, who has been in the custody of the United States Marshals Service since April 2002, was also ordered to pay a total of $42,336 in restitution to the victims of his crime.
Following the sentencing, U.S. Attorney Boyle stated, “Sillemon was an outlaw disguised in a police uniform. He deserved the stiff sentence because he betrayed his partners in law enforcement and the public who trusted him to uphold the law. This Office will aggressively prosecute those who violate the public trust.”
Following a one-week jury trial and 45 minutes of deliberation, a federal jury found the 10-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department guilty on all nine counts of an indictment that charged one count of conspiracy to commit bank theft, credit card fraud, armed bank robbery and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; four counts of bank robbery; and four counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a pistol during a bank robbery. The robberies were committed in late spring and early summer, 2000.
At trial, the jury found that Sillemon, along with others, conspired to commit certain crimes, including committing armed bank robberies and stealing and using stolen credit cards to cash checks at retail businesses and financial institutions. The jury found that Sillemon recruited individuals to pass these stolen checks and credit cards and recruited employees at financial institutions and businesses to assist him.
The Fort Worth Police Department wont fire an officer accused of illegally entering and searching an apartment and then violating department policy by using a Taser gun on a man who later died.
Instead, police officer P.R. Genualdo has been suspended for 16 days, according to civil-service documents released Tuesday by the city.
After the Nov. 2 in-custody death of 21-year-old Robert Guerrero, police had begun a routine administrative investigation into Genualdo’s actions.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office later ruled intoxication and that the Taser did not contribute to his death.
The officer’s attorney, Craig Driskell, with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, said Genualdo is a good officer who was the class president at the police academy and graduated with honors. He has never had a sustained complaint in his six years with the department, Driskell said.
“I think the chief, after talking to him, saw the value of this officer,” Driskell said. “He is really an outstanding officer. A couple of things went bad here.
The chief did not find him at fault for (Guerreros) death. Some procedural things weren’t done according to policy, and Genualdo took responsibility for that.”
A review of the Taser found that Genualdo shocked Guerrero four times _ the first time for a duration of 10 seconds. Fort Worth policy stipulates that Tasers should only be used for five seconds per deployment.
TEXAS — Two former Trinity County sheriff’s deputies who claim they were wrongfully terminated for doing their jobs are taking action against the county.
Former Chief Deputy John Joslin believes the department fired him because he would not drop an investigation into the beating of an inmate. The deputy accused of assaulting the prisoner was apparently a friend of Trinity County Sheriff Jimmy Smith.
Chris Tritico, an attorney for John Joslin and a deputy who helped with the investigation, said, “It’s our intention to, within the next 90 days as the law requires, to file suit against the county and the sheriff for wrongful termination in violation of the state whistle blower statute.”
TULIA, Texas – A Texas judge on Monday ordered the release of 12 African-Americans jailed four years ago after a series of small-town drug arrests nationally criticized by civil-rights advocates.
Retired state District Judge Ron Chapman of Dallas ordered the 12 — convicted on the testimony of an undercover police officer later indicted on perjury charges free on bond while their appeals are being heard.
“I’m just glad to be out,” said Joe Moore, 60, a hog farmer from Tulia who was among those arrested and convicted of selling cocaine to an undercover officer he said he never met. Moore refused to plea bargain and was sentenced to 90 years.
Moore said he planned to “get back with my family and stuff” and then “go on with my life.”
Asked what he had lost, he told reporters, “Just about my life. But I’m doing good. I’m doing good now.”
A 13th defendant, Daniel Olivacea, 22, will remain in custody because there is a hold on him from Potter County, which is outside Chapman’s jurisdiction. A 14th defendant included in the bill was ineligible for bail because his case is pending on direct appeal.
A special prosecutor, meanwhile, said he would dismiss the cases if an appeals court orders new trials, The Associated Press reported.
Allegations of racism, shady evidence and questionable police work put the Tulia cases in the national spotlight. Civil-rights advocates had decried the arrests and a judge recommended that the convictions be overturned.
‘Complete system breakdown’ Retired District Judge Ron Chapman in court Monday.
The 12 were among 46 people — 39 of them African-American — arrested July 23, 1999, on drug charges in Tulia, a town of about 5,000 people between Lubbock and Amarillo.
Thirty-eight of them were convicted on drug charges based on the testimony of Tom Coleman, who no longer works in law enforcement. At the trials, Coleman, who is white, presented little evidence to support his statements: few notes, no surveillance video and no wiretaps.
“What we’ve got here is a complete system breakdown,” said defense attorney Jeff Blackburn in arguing for their release. “A breakdown of the defense function, a breakdown of the prosecution function, and a breakdown of the whole judicial system.”
Though 16 of those arrested were still in prison at the beginning of Monday, some were not eligible for the release because they faced separate charges or other legal issues.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry made the release possible on June 2, signing a signing a bill from the Texas legislature allowing it. In May — after Coleman’s indictment on perjury charges in late April — Perry ordered the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to review the cases.
The court appointed retired Judge Chapman to review what happened in Tulia. In his report, Chapman called Coleman “the most devious non-responsive law enforcement officer this court has seen” and “entirely unbelievable” as a witness.
3/31/2004 – A 16-year-old federal program that has poured about $500 million a year into more than 750 regional anti-drug task forces is under fire from critics who say that a lack of oversight has led to wrongful convictions of citizens and theft, perjury and misuse of public funds by law enforcement officers.
The focus of many of the complaints from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union has been the scandal in Tulia, Texas, where more than 40 residents most of them black were sent to jail after an officer allegedly lied in court about selling them drugs during a sting operation in 1999.
No drugs were ever recovered during raids in the Tulia case, and the investigator, Tom Coleman, produced no physical evidence to back up his testimony. Doubts surrounding the convictions eventually led Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pardon nearly all of the defendants last year. This month, the defendants reached a $5 million settlement with officials in nearby Amarillo, the hub for the task force operations.
Under the agreement, the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Trafficking Task Force, a multi agency unit that covered 26 counties, was disbanded. The task force’s downfall along with local officials’ acknowledgment that it lacked leadership cast a spotlight on problems in other federally funded task forces.
Investigations into possible misconduct by members of such task forces are underway in nine states. In some cases, criminal charges against people arrested in drug stings have been dismissed; in other cases, convictions have been overturned.
The situation has led the ACLU and other groups to call on Congress to either overhaul the federal grant program that provides most of the funding for the anti-drug task forces, or to eliminate the program. The critics say multi county task forces are too easily corrupted and have become ineffective.
The chief complaint against the anti-drug units which often involve more than two dozen law enforcement agencies is that no one is in charge of supervising them.
“These are nameless, faceless, roaming operations that are not subject to the ballot box or city council scrutiny,” says Will Harrell, executive director of the ACLU of Texas, which has urged the Texas Legislature to disband all 45 of the task forces that state. “The states assume no responsibility over their actions. All they are required to do is report their numbers of arrests. It’s all about quantity, not quality.”
In a statement about the settlement, officials in Amarillo acknowledged that “there was a void of leadership in the task force.”
Anti-drug task forces operate throughout the country. They get 75% of their funding from the federal Byrne grant program and 25% from local counties. The federal program, named for Edward Byrne, a New York City police officer who was killed on duty in 1988, was created under the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 to provide money to help states reduce violent crime and fight drugs. Federal funding for the grant program has averaged $500 million a year, the Justice Department says. The grants are distributed to every congressional district in the country.
Supporters credit the grants with helping local law enforcement target illegal drug distribution, which has become increasingly more sophisticated and mobile. A recent study by the National Institute of Justice found that anti-drug task forces play a key role in law enforcement efforts.
The 2002 annual report of the grant program cited success in Utah, which received $4.5 million that year to support 16 task forces that have battled trafficking of methamphetamine. The task forces arrested more than 3,000 people that year and seized $2.1 million in drugs, the report said.
November 19, 2004 – An Austin police officer was arrested Thursday after being accused of touching a woman’s breasts while on duty and, in a separate incident, pressuring another woman to show him her breasts to avoid legal trouble.
Jason Lockaby, 34, has been charged with official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor, and violation of the civil rights of a person in custody, a state jail felony. He turned himself in Thursday and was released from the Travis County Jail.
The Austin Police Department’s Integrity Crimes Unit began investigating in October after one of the women complained. Lockaby was ordered to turn in his badge and has been assigned to his home to be available to investigators, Assistant Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom said.
Lockaby is not the first Austin police officer accused of committing a sexual offense. Boren Shiner Hildebrand, who was fired after being accused of forcing two women to have sex with him, pleaded guilty in September to official oppression and no contest to a second oppression charge. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail and given two years’ probation.
The names of Lockaby’s accusers are being withheld because of the nature of the allegations.
Lockaby met one of the women on Oct. 1, according to court records, after being sent to a disturbance about 3:35 a.m. on the 9000 block of RM 620. According to the records, he returned and gave the woman a victim’s assistance pamphlet and asked her if she knew she had an outstanding warrant.
“I can’t imagine what those girls would do to you in that jail with your nipples poking out and no panties on, the way you are right now,” Lockaby said, according to court documents.
Lockaby, the court records show, then said he wouldn’t take her to jail if she showed him her breasts. The woman ignored Lockaby several times but complied after he insisted, according to court documents.
Police found the second woman through their investigation.
Court records show that Lockaby encountered the second woman multiple times. The first was in February, when he followed her as she pulled into her apartment complex about 4:30 a.m, the records show. He told her that her vehicle registration had expired.
Then, on March 28, at about 4:30 a.m., the woman pulled into a 7-Eleven on RM 620, and Lockaby parked behind her, according to court documents. Lockaby told her that he was going to arrest her for outstanding warrants, according to court records. The records say he patted the woman down, touching her breasts and pressing on her nipples. Lockaby told the woman that he needed to check her bra, and she showed him her breasts, according to court records.
Lockaby placed the woman in his patrol car to arrest her, telling her, “I like big nipples,” the court documents state.
The next day, about 4:30 a.m., according to court records, Lockaby followed the woman into her apartment complex, telling her he was checking to make sure she was OK.
Lockaby stopped the woman two more times in the early morning hours, the records show. He is quoted in the documents as telling her on the last occasion, “Apparently, you do not want to see me tonight because you are going under the speed limit.”
TEXAS — A jury awarded the first woman on the Houston Police Department’s elite motorcycle unit $600,000 today, fully agreeing with her contentions that she was sexually harassed by her supervisor and that his supervisors failed to take appropriate action.
Police Officer Beth Kreuzer and her two attorneys hugged after the five men and three women on the jury announced their verdict to U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt following 10 days of testimony and five hours of deliberation.
“I didn’t take it for granted,” Kreuzer, 41, said as she tried to regain her composure. “I was surprised.
“I think the jury is sending a message that we have a dysfunctional system” within the police department.
August 27, 2001- AUSTIN – A police officer accused by colleagues of beating a handcuffed prisoner last week was fired in 1997 after his arrest on charges of domestic violence and violating a protective order.
Austin police officer Doroteo “Ted” Hernandez appealed his firing and was back in uniform six months after the criminal charges against him were dropped.
According to disciplinary records the newspaper obtained, the civil service arbitrator who gave Hernandez his job back ordered the officer to seek counseling, visit a department psychologist and stay out of trouble.
According to the disciplinary records, San Marcos police arrested Hernandez at his home in January 1996 after receiving reports of a domestic dispute. Hernandez was charged with assault and family violence with bodily injury.
Hernandez was fired after he was arrested again in October 1996 on charges of repeatedly violating his now ex-wife’s restraining order against him.
Hernandez, 40, a six-year veteran, now faces accusations from other officers that he repeatedly struck a handcuffed but combative Fernando Rosales on Aug. 17 while trying to force the drunken driving suspect into the patrol car.
Rosales, who is from Monterrey, Mexico, was taken to Brackenridge Hospital with head and facial wounds.
April 12, 2005 – Deputy constable on trial in teen’s death Officer allegedly was speeding and had no lights on.
A Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable went on trial for manslaughter Monday, accused of driving too fast without his lights on and causing a collision that killed a teenager more than two years ago.
The criminal case involving Deputy Raul Martinez, 34, was delayed because the constable’s office botched the investigation, Assistant District Attorney Warren Diepraam said.
“The Precinct 4 investigation in this case was either sloppy or covered up,” Diepraam told jurors in his opening statements. He said two people who witnessed the accident will testify that their efforts to give statements were rejected by constables at the scene.
Teen died in collision Benjamin Boatman, 19, was a passenger in a Ford Explorer when he was killed in the Dec. 29, 2002, collision in the 13000 block of Windfern near FM 1960.
If convicted, Martinez could face punishment ranging from two to 20 years in prison. He remains on leave pending the outcome of the trial.
The Boatman family has filed a lawsuit, accusing Martinez and Harris County of negligence.
Martinez and another deputy constable were eating at a Wendy’s on Windfern shortly after 8 p.m. when they saw young men in a car doing “doughnuts” in a nearby parking lot, officials said.
Martinez had no headlights or emergency lights on as he followed the other patrol car eastbound at about 70 mph, Diepraam said.
“He was completely blacked out,” Diepraam said.
Less than a mile from the restaurant, Boatman and several other youths were in the SUV traveling westbound, slowing down to make a left turn into an apartment complex.
After the first patrol car sped by, the driver of the SUV began to turn, unable to see Martinez’s car following close behind, Diepraam said. He said Martinez’s car slammed into the vehicle’s passenger side.
Numerous unopened beer cans were found in the SUV, but investigators saw no evidence that alcohol contributed to the collision, Diepraam said.
After the accident, the constable’s office issued the driver of the SUV, Angela Knight, a traffic ticket for failing to yield.
Last year, after Knight went to a Justice of the Peace court, she recounted the incident to a prosecutor. The prosecutor dismissed the traffic ticket and referred the matter to the district attorney’s office.
April 19, 2005 – A former Harris County deputy constable was sentenced to eight years’ probation for causing a traffic collision that killed a teenager.
Raul Martinez, 34, was convicted of manslaughter Monday for causing the 2002 accident that killed 19-year-old Benjamin Boatman. He could have received up to 20 years in prison.
The jury also fined him $8,000, but he will not have to pay it unless he fails to complete his probation successfully. State District Judge Belinda Hill said she will announce conditions of his probation Thursday
Martinez, married and a father of four, was escorted to a holding cell by Harris County Sheriff’s deputies after Hill read the sentence. He was expected to be released from the county jail late today. His family declined to comment as they left the courtroom.
“I don’t think his life should end because Ben’s did,” said Donna Epley, Boatman’s aunt. “I feel like he deserves a second chance.”
But David Foster, 19, and a friend of Benjamin Boatman, said the sentence was unjust.
“He deserves some (prison) time now,” Foster said. “My friend’s gone. You can’t kill somebody and get probation.”
Prosecutors said Martinez was driving about 75 mph without his lights when he hit a Ford Explorer making a left turn in the 13000 block of Windfern about 8 p.m. Dec. 29, 2002. Boatman was a passenger.
Martinez claimed he was driving about 55 mph, that his headlights were on and that the Explorer turned across his lane.
Harris County Assistant District Attorney Warren Diepraam said he was satisfied with the sentence.
During the trial, Diepraam said the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office covered up or botched its investigation into the accident to hide Martinez’s culpability.
Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman has denied Diepraam’s accusations of a cover-up.
Nov. 13, 2004 – Precinct 1 officers have been involved in six shootings in the past five years, based on news releases, Houston Chronicle reports and public records:
* Nov. 13, 1999 Deputy Constable Matthew McCord wounded Martin Gonzalez, 22, after a traffic stop escalated into a physical confrontation.
* Oct. 27, 2000 Deputy Constable Matthew Haynes wounded Juan Cabazos, 22; after Haynes tried to pull him over for erratic driving, Cabazos is alleged to have backed his car toward the officer and was shot.
* Sept. 24, 2001 Deputy Constable Tammy Alfred, who was off duty, fatally shot Timothy Terry, 21, who tried to attack her and had been attempting to burglarize her home.
* July 11, 2002 Deputy Constable McCord fatally shot Melvin Romero, 20, after pulling him over for speeding. McCord said Romero appeared to be reaching for a gun at the time.
* Jan. 26, 2004 Deputy Constables Andy Reyna and C. Jaris were called to subdue Tairon Gray, a mental patient wielding a knife. Gray grabbed an officer’s gun and was fatally shot.
* June 27, 2004 Deputy Constable Brian Kirsch fatally shot Francisco Garza, 30, after pulling him over for an expired inspection sticker.
Lawyers involved in a civil suit over the fatal shooting of a Honduran man by a Precinct 1 deputy constable in 2002 claim they now have evidence that the police officer may have planted a gun near the victim to help justify his deadly action.
“It was a throw-down gun,” said Randall Kallinen, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who is representing man’s common-law wife and child in a civil suit pending in federal court in Houston.
But the Harris County assistant district attorney who handled the grand jury inquiry in 2002 into the shooting of Melvin Romero scoffed at Kallinen’s conclusions. He said there was no reason to believe the gun was planted and witnesses’ accounts supported the officer.
Romero, 20, was fatally shot after being stopped for speeding on North Shepherd on July 11, 2002, a few days after the birth of his first child.
ACLU lawyers called a news conference Friday to announce their theory. They note investigators could not trace the gun’s ownership and found no fingerprints on it, although the officer has stated that both he and Romero handled the weapon.
That information comes from an investigative report released by the Houston Police Department as part of the lawsuit.
J.C. Mosier, administrative chief of the Precinct 1 Constable’s office, said no one from the office could comment because of the pending lawsuit.
Officers from Precinct 1 have been involved in six shootings in the past five years more than in the previous 20 years combined.
The officer who shot Romero, Matthew McCord, has been involved in two shootings, both after traffic stops. In the second case, he wounded a man on Nov. 13, 1999. Separate grand juries returned no bills in the standard review process of both incidents.
ACLU lawyers contend McCord has lied about what happened after he pulled Romero over for speeding at 9:25 p.m. July 11, 2002, in the 900 block of North Shepherd.
McCord said Romero, 20, appeared very agitated. Romero repeatedly shouted “licencia” license in Spanish and kept reaching into his pocket, according to an HPD investigative report.
Romero had been drinking, according to an autopsy report, and did not understand much, if any, English, Kallinen said.
McCord said he put Romero’s hands on his squad car. He then patted Romero down and felt a gun in his right-front pocket. Then, McCord said, he thought he saw Romero touch the gun handle. McCord fired three times and Romero went down. McCord told HPD investigators he then removed the weapon from Romero’s pocket.
But Kallinen, the ACLU lawyer, said he thinks McCord felt only a cell phone or another object in Romero’s pocket because Romero did not own a gun. When McCord realized his mistake, Kallinen contends the deputy may have planted an untraceable “throw-down gun” and emptied Romero’s pockets of other items, including his cell phone.
No witnesses at the scene said they saw McCord plant a gun, nor did any say they saw Romero handling a weapon, according to the HPD report obtained by the Chronicle.
But Ed Porter, the assistant district attorney who handled the November 2002 grand jury inquiry, said several witnesses supported a key part of the police officer’s version of events: that Romero repeatedly reached for his pocket.
Porter said he does not believe the gun found at the scene had been planted.
Several witnesses who worked at a store nearby saw the shooting, according to the homicide report. One woman, Cynthia Vales, said she heard Romero ask the officer in Spanish if he wanted him to lay down and that the officer fired when Romero moved. Other witnesses said Romero moved his hand or made a motion toward his pocket before the officer fired, the report says.
Sept. 8, 2004 – A Houston Police Department officer fired earlier this year after he shot and killed an unarmed teenager must be reinstated, an arbitrator ruled this week
Officer Richard Kevin Butler, 38, who was fired in February for the shooting of 15-year-old Jose Daniel Vargas Jr., could return to work within a matter of days or weeks, his attorney said Tuesday.
“This is a guy who’s going to go back to work and do a good job,” attorney Brett Limon said.
Under the city’s civil service rules, police officers can appeal their disciplinary actions to a third-party arbitrator, chosen from a rotating list of independent hearing examiners, whose decisions are binding. The city could appeal the arbitrator’s ruling to a state District Court, but only on the grounds that the arbitration panel was without jurisdiction, exceeded its jurisdiction or reached its decision unlawfully.
“Although Chief Hurtt took no part in this particular termination, he is nonetheless concerned anytime an arbitrator reverses or substantially reduces discipline deemed appropriate via the disciplinary process within the department,” said Capt. Dwayne Ready.
A lawsuit brought by the teen’s family against Butler, the city of Houston and AMC Theaters is pending.
The arbitrator’s ruling was applauded by Butler’s defenders, who claimed his firing was politically motivated, but condemned by the League of United Latin American Citizens’ local district and an attorney for the slain boy’s family.
“It’s certainly not going to sit well in the community. The public needs to understand the Police Department carried out its part in terminating this police officer,” said Johnny Mata, spokesman for LULAC District VIII, which includes Houston.
“In this case, the Police Department took action it felt was appropriate and needed to restore the confidence of the community.
Then you have someone come in out of the clear blue sky and make a decision contrary to what management and the administration in the Police Department felt was necessary for justice to prevail.”
Butler was fired in February by then-acting Police Chief Joe Breshears. But a Harris County grand jury declined to indict Butler for the Oct. 31, 2003, shooting, which happened after he tried to stop the teen outside an AMC Studio 30 movie theater in the 2900 block of Dunvale near Westheimer.