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Friday, April 29, 2011

Roman Forest Cop, Formerly With Harris County Sheriff's Office, Charged with Family Violence


Spring, Texas

A former Harris County Sheriffs employee has been charged with Assault-Family Violence.

Precinct 4 Constables arrested Randy Eugene Blackketter, 40, in the 22900 block of Spring Willow Drive Wednesday morning.

Blackketer is a reserve police officer with the Roman Forest Police Department. He served several years with HCSO.

Investigators were called to the residence around 3 a.m. on word of a family disturbance, according to a Precinct 4 Constables Office statement.

A woman told investigators she had been assaulted on at least 2 separate occasions in the past month. Both times, Blackketter left the scene prior to the arrival of deputies.

Source

Houston Police Officer Demetrie Dixon Found Guilty in Rape Cases


Houston, Texas

Demetrie Dixon is being referred to as a rapist in blue and he could be going to prison for a very long time.

It was last year when the 26-year-old Houston Police officer was arrested for sexually assaulting at least 2 women in north west Houston.

Dixon, a 2-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, used his authority to detain and sexually assault the women, investigators said.

On Friday morning, a Harris County jury returned a guilty verdict on 2 counts of Sexual Assault against the police officer.

Prosecutors paraded a string of women into the court to tell how they were victimized by Dixon.

One woman told jurors that Dixon forced her to strip nude and told her to spread.

Another woman testified, "I was forced to perform oral sex on him. I didn't ask for this. He did this to me."

Dixon faces 2 to 20 years for the convictions.

Source

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Houston Police Investigation Involving Officer Driving Drunk and Colliding With School Bus Under Scrutiny


Houston, Texas

One of HPD's top commanders admits that an investigation into how the crash report was handled wasn't launched until after KTRK-TV started asking questions.

In a previous story, we learned that Sergeant Ruben Trejo had a blood alcohol content of .176 and was driving to work when the crash occurred. It wasn’t until two weeks after, that he was charged with DWI. When police arrived on the scene, bus driver Teresa Argueta explained that the officer appeared to have been intoxicated and claimed she saw open containers in the sergeant's car.

She said, "I tried to take a picture and all the police officers pulled the rug inside. And I tried to take pictures and they said no, go over there." Instead of charging the officer, the bus driver was cited for failure to yield. Previous reports claim witnesses were told they would be arrested if they took photos of the open alcohol containers.

KTRK-TV is reporting internal affairs didn't start investigating the allegations until late last week when Argueta and Eyewitness News began asking questions.

Source

Poteet Police Chief Says Sending Pics of Topless Women To Female Officer Was An Accident

Poteet, Texas

According to Poteet Police Chief John Overstreet, he was just sitting around the house last month, when someone sent him a funny text message. It was so funny, he decided to forward it to several friends.

The only two problems with this scenario was, the message included photos of topless women and his only female officer received the message.

Alice Bhirdo, on the force for two years, says she was "shocked and disgusted." Outraged, she showed the photos to city officials, but decided to not file a complaint. "What's the point?" she said. "Nothing gets done."

Source

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Houston Independent School Police Officer Charged With Sexually Assaulting Teenager


Houston, Texas
An HISD police officer is now in custody and facing sex charges. He’s accused of assaulting a teenager off campus. Right now, he's in custody.

Officer Calvin Williams is facing two felony counts of sexual assault of a child. The alleged victim in this case is a 15-year-old girl who was a new student at the school where he worked.

The assaults took place four years ago, when the victim was pretty new to Eastwood Academy on Houston's east side. But now, she's pressing charges to prevent others from possibly becoming victims.

According to Williams, he and the victim became friends and he liked having her read poetry to him. According to the victim, it was in the officer’s car at a car wash, where the first assault happened.

If he's convicted, Williams faces two to 20 years in prison on both counts.

Source

Family Seeks Help From US Department of Justice After Autopsy Report Reveals Unarmed Man Shot Six Times In Back By Houston Police Officer : Latest Update


Houston, Texas

In the on-going story on the death of John Barnes, who was killed by Houston Police Officer Ryan Gardiner, family members are seeking help from the US Department of Justice. This follows their filing of a lawsuit against the officer. While the officer was cleared by a grand jury two years ago, the autopsy report was held until recently –revealing that the unarmed man was shot multiple times, including six times in the back.
As of today, Officer Gardiner remains active on the force.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just Released Autopsy Report Shows Houston Police Officer Shot Unarmed Man Six Times In The Back : An Update

Houston, Texas

An update on the story we brought you earlier, involving allegations of excessive force against a Houston Police Officer. There were conflicting reports on various blogs about how many bullet wounds the autopsy report revealed that the victim received. We now have video verification that the unarmed victim, John Barnes, was shot multiple times, including six times in his back by Houston Police Officer Ryan Gardiner.


Two and a half years have passed since that shooting, and it's been about a year and a half since a grand jury cleared Gardiner of any wrong doing.

But attorneys for the victim’s family have finally gotten their hands on the autopsy report for Barnes. They've now filed a civil lawsuit against Gardiner, the apartment complex, and the city of Houston.

"John Barnes was shot in the chest and 6 times in the back. He was unarmed," said Hodges. "I don't care who you are. A dog doesn't deserve to be gunned down 6 times in the back like John Barnes was that night. The family attempted afterward to get a copy of some of the documents that were relative to the case. They asked, ‘Can we get a copy of the police department report?’ No. ‘Copies of statements?’ No. ‘Or how about the public record, the autopsy report?’ That is public record for every autopsy done in Harris County and they were told no."

Source

Houston Police Officer Faces Jail Over DUI Wreck With School Bus


Houston, Texas

Another incident of police misconduct surfaces involving one of Houston’s finest. The veteran officer, 46-year-old Ruben Trejo, had a blood-alcohol content of .205 – more than twice the legal limit when he collided with a private school bus while heading to work. The incident happened on April 13.

Trejo was charged Monday with driving while intoxicated. The legal limit for intoxication is 0.08. The Eastside Patrol Division sergeant, although intoxicated, was on his way to work.

Fortunately, there were no children on the bus. The driver, who suffered minor injuries, told police that Trejo smelled like alcohol and appeared to have been drinking. Crime scene photos verify wine bottles in the back seat.

On the day of the accident, however, fellow officers cited the bus driver and claimed the bus ran a red light. Other witnesses said officers at the scene threw a towel over alcohol and threatened to arrest anyone who took photos.

Trejo joined the force in November 1985 and has worked with the Eastside Division since 1991.

Source

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Houston Police Officer Accused of Excessive Force: Autopsy Reports Reveal Victim Was Shot Six Times In The Back

Houston, Texas

The report indicates that the man was shot repeatedly, including six shots in the back.

Autopsy results appear to reveal that a man killed by an off duty Houston Police officer was shot in the back six times, according to a local source. 

Civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen said the information released by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences showed that excessive force was used.

It was back on Aug. 1, 2009, that John Barnes was shot and killed outside of his Kingwood apartment.

Investigators said he and Officer Ryan Gardiner got into a scuffle.

Gardiner was not on-duty at the time, but was wearing his uniform while working an extra security job for the apartment complex. He reported hearing a man and woman arguing.

Gardiner, a seven-year veteran of the police force at the time, claimed that when confronted, Barnes was able to take away his Taser. He said he opened fire because he feared for his safety.

However, witnesses and Barnes' family members offer a different scenario unfolded, one in which they that Barnes should not have been killed.

"John leans against his car and says 'What are you going to do shoot me' and he did," Barnes' sister-in-law Jackie Rucker told KPRC-TV shortly after the shooting.

Saturday, Kallinen said the recently released autopsy results support the family's claim. While there have been conflicting reports about the number of bullets to the back, Kallinen confirms six wounds.

"As we can see, there are not one, not two, not even three, but six bullet holes in (Barnes') back," he said, pointing to an autopsy diagram.

The report states that Barnes died due to multiple shots to the upper body and, according to Kallinen, Gardiner prevented Barnes from getting medical attention.

Other reports indicate that Officer Gardiner has already amassed 14 tasings without discipline and discharged his firearm three times (and has been on the force less than ten years).

Kallinen said the city should have released the autopsy report long ago, but chose not to.

"Instead, they held it for 21 months after the shooting and 18 months after it was actually done," he said. "You can see why they'd want to withhold it with the six shots in the back."

Source

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Two Dallas cops fired; one tested positive for marijuana after DUI crash & other showed up for work drunk

Officer Anastasia Brown

Dallas, Texas

Two Dallas police officers have been fired after one was found to have marijuana in her bloodstream after being arrested for driving while intoxicated and another officer came to work drunk.

Sr. Cpl. Mohammad Atique and Officer Anastasia Brown were both fired Friday.

Police say that in September, Atique, was found to have come to a training class drunk after submitting to a test. Police say it was his second incident of being drunk on duty.

Police say that in November, Brown was arrested for DWI in Fort Worth and during a search of her vehicle, officers found drug paraphernalia. As a result, she was asked to submit to a drug test. She tested positive for marijuana.

Source

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rio Grande City Manager and Police Chief Suspended With Pay Over Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Rio Grande City, Texas

Rio Grande City officials are reacting to the suspensions of two city leaders. Rio Grande City's police chief B.A. Dutch Piper and city manager Juan Zuniga are suspended with pay. Both men are accused in a federal lawsuit.

Former city employee Cynthia Alanis is alleging the two city leaders made sexual advances toward her. She is also alleging the two men basically launched a smear campaign against her when she refused the advances. She says the city manager accused her of taking money from city coffers. She was charged. Those charges were later dropped.

We asked Rio Grande City Mayor Ruben Villarreal about the lawsuit. He wouldn't talk specifics. He says his hands are tied because this is a pending lawsuit. He is calling the lawsuit a concern.
 
Source

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Houston Police Department Employee Accused of Bribery


Houston, Texas

A Houston Police Department employee has been arrested on bribery charges, officials said Thursday.

Edward Mason, 52, worked in the HPD property room as an evidence technician. He was charged with three counts of bribery.

Investigators said he passed along information about HPD vice squad operations.

Source

Judge Moves West Texas Sheriff's Felony Trial

Kermit, Texas

A court clerk says a judge has ruled to move the felony trial of a longtime West Texas sheriff accused of retaliating against two whistle-blowing nurses.

Winkler County district clerk Sherry Terry said Thursday that Judge Robert H. Moore ruled on the prosecution's motion that said the trial should be moved because of "a combination and influence in favor" of Sheriff Robert Roberts.

The trial is set for June 6 will be held in Midland, in a nearby county about 65 miles west of Kermit.

Roberts faces felony charges including misuse of information and retaliation stemming from the prosecution of two nurses fired from a hospital in 2009.

The nurses were prosecuted after complaining anonymously to state regulators about Dr. Rolando Arafiles.

Source

Watch Out For Angry Houston Police Officers As Job Cuts Are Coming


Houston, Texas

It's what many Houstonians fear in a city where the level of police misconduct has exploded in recent months. And now, with news that officers are in line for job cuts, things can only get worse.

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland has presented a plan that would cut 181 police officers and 445 civilians, according to HPD sources.

The employees would reportedly be notified on May 12 that their jobs will be eliminated in August.

Source

Sullivan City police chief sentenced to 10yrs for his role in helping traffickers move 2 tons of pot thru town

McAllen, Texas

Sullivan City’s former police chief received a 10-year prison sentence for his role in a drug trafficking ring busted by federal authorities last year.

Hernan Guerra Jr. and seven other men learned their sentences at a hearing Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in McAllen.

Guerra’s sentence came after he pleaded guilty for his role safeguarding Mexican drug traffickers moving more than 2 tons of marijuana through Sullivan City.

“I am sorry for what I did,” Guerra told U.S. District Judge Randy Crane at his sentencing hearing.

“When you do something like this, you cause people to lose confidence in our government,” the judge told Guerra.

Source

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rosebud cop who confronted residents about speed trap warning signs is fired for working outside city limits


Rosebud, Texas

A Central Texas police officer was fired Monday and could be in more hot water.

The Rosebud Police Officer was fired for working outside city limits against orders. It's a rule he had reportedly broken multiple times.

On Saturday, the officer reportedly tried to take down a controversial speed trap sign along Highway 77 put up by some residents to warn drivers.

The officer got into a heated exchange with one of those residents who helped with the signs.

News Channel 25 talked to that fired officer Monday night on the phone, he said he was directed by a supervisor to either ticket or arrest the people responsible for the signs. He thought taking it down would cause the least problems.

Source

Monday, April 18, 2011

San Antonio Park police officer charged with DWI after running stop sign



San Antonio, Texas

A San Antonio park police officer, Scott Warren Little, was charged Sunday with driving while intoxicated after he ran a stop sign on the far North Side became one of 275 suspected drunken motorists taken off the road by SAPD arrests during the 11-day Fiesta celebration.

Police Chief William McManus released the statistic Monday and said no drunken driving-related fatalities marred the city-wide event, at least partly because of his officers' efforts.

It was the first year since 2003 that no one died in drunken driving-related crashes during Fiesta, according to published reports.

Source

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Harris County Deputy At Fault In Fiery Wreck


Harris County, Texas

According to investigators, the deputy did not turn on his emergency lights as he ran a red light, so the accident was deemed his fault

A Harris County Deputy is recovering from minor injuries sustained in a fiery car crash over the weekend.

Around 10:30pm Friday, a Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy supervisor was stopped at a red light eastbound on F.M. 1960 at Sugar Pine when a car next to him reportedly ran the red light.

The deputy said he tried to go after the car. Just as he began driving through the red light, a car was coming through the intersection northbound on Sugar Pine.

Officials said deputy hit the side of that car, and then came to a stop against another car in the southbound lanes and caught fire.

Source

Houston Police Officer Charged With DWI


Houston, Texas

An off-duty Houston police officer has been charged with driving while intoxicated over the weekend, officials said.

According to the Houston Police Department, 33-year-old Jarrod Johnson was driving his personal vehicle on I-45 downtown around 1:45am Saturday when he was pulled over by a fellow officer.

The officer was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated -- his first offense.

Johnson was released after posting $500 bond. He is slated to appear in county court April 21.

According to officials, this case will be investigated by HPD internal affairs.

Johnson is an eight-year veteran on the force.

Source

Autopsy Confirms Cocaine Found in System of University of Houston Police Officer Killed In Crash


Houston, Texas

The first University of Houston police officer to die in the line of duty had narcotics in her system when she wrecked her patrol car on a Christmas Eve call, university officials said.

In a statement released Thursday, UH Police Chief Malcolm Davis said Harris County medical examiners found cocaine in Officer Ann O'Donnell's system.

O'Donnell, 24, struck a tree about 1 a.m. on Dec. 24 while responding to reports of a possible assault or kidnapping at a fast-food restaurant across the street from Robertson Stadium.

UH police dispatchers lost contact with O'Donnell after the crash. Houston police soon notified them that one of their patrol cars had been involved in a single-car crash along the 4300 block of North 'MacGregor Way.

O'Donnell, who joined the department in 2009, died in the ambulance en route to Ben Taub General Hospital.

Source

Harris County Constable Killed While Visiting Drug House and Prostitute While Off-duty


Harris County, Texas

Note: The death of any human being is tragic and it is a difficult story to report. However, according to details, alleged misconduct led to the loss of life of an officer.

On the night he was shot to death, an off-duty Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable allegedly visited a drug house and a prostitute, according to court records.

Lee Eldridge Sonier, 31, and Judy Wallace Hambrick (also known as Judy Lucille Hambrick), 40, have been charged with capital murder in Deputy Ronnie Brewer's shooting death about 1 a.m. on Tuesday in northeast Houston. Robbery was the apparent motive.

Hambrick, whose criminal record includes a prior prostitution conviction, was in jail Friday with no bail set. She was arrested Tuesday on a charge of theft of a firearm from Brewer's vehicle, and the capital murder charge was added Thursday.

Sonier surrendered Friday afternoon. He had been detained Tuesday for questioning but was later released. Further investigation led to his being charged with capital murder, police said.

Court documents state that shortly before Brewer died, he visited a "dope house" with Hambrick and Sonier, who is accused of robbing and shooting the deputy after he engaged in sex with Hambrick.

In a prepared statement Friday, Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman's office said, "This single incident (or set of circumstances) in which Deputy Brewer is believed to have placed himself which led to this tragic outcome should not overshadow his many years of service and dedication."

Source

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Police News: Probe Requested for Galveston Leaders


Galveston, Texas

Accusations of corruption are creating a rough current under Galveston City Hall and its Police Department, according to Police News

Representatives from the city’s Municipal Police Association are requesting an investigation into the activities of City Manager Steve LeBlanc and Police Chief Charles Wiley.

GMPA President Michael Gray was an internal affairs investigator under Chief Wiley.

In an interview with Police News, Gray said his problems began when started probing reported unlawful actions committed by Wiley. In response, Wiley had Gray transferred and shut down the internal affairs division.

Source

Harris County deputy pleads guilty to extortion charge after arrested for protecting ecstasy dealer & taking bribe


Harris County, Texas

A former Harris County Sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty to extortion in federal court Thursday afternoon.



George Wesley Ellington, 38, was accused of the following when he was charged back in October 2010 :

-- Allowed unauthorized access to confidential law enforcement databases in exchange for $500 in April 2010

-- Provided protection for a suspected ecstasy dealer.

Per the plea agreement, Ellington could face a maximum 60 months in prison without the possibility of parole, according to a US Attorney’s Office statement. His sentencing begins on June 30.

Tanya Ketrisse Ellington, his wife, is expected to go on trial in May for the following:

-- Attempting to aid and abet the possession with intent to distribute ecstasy

Source

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Houston Police accused of hiding open containers & threatening witnesses of cop's suspected DUI crash into bus

Houston, Texas

Police are investigating a controversial traffic accident involving an HPD officer and a school bus.

There are conflicting stories about who was to blame.

The unidentified sergeant was on his way to work in his pickup Wednesday when he collided with the bus in the 7900 block of Harrisburg in East Houston.

No children were on board.

An HPD spokesman said the bus driver ran a stop sign and caused the accident. But other witnesses said the officer was the one who ran a stop sign.

The bus driver said she thinks he'd been drinking.

"He smelled drunk and he had beer and wine opened in his car," Teresa Argueta said.

Other witnesses said officers at the scene threw a towel over the open containers and threatened to arrest anyone who took photos.

Source

Houston Police Abuse Has State Rep. Borris Miles Wanting to Increase Penalties for “Rogue Cops”

News From Texas

The videotaped police beating of Chad Holley, a teenage burglary suspect, has led to changes in the City of Houston and could soon shakeup police penalties across the state.

State Representative Borris Miles has introduced a bill that enhances the penalty for official oppression for law enforcement officers from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the severity of injuries to a victim.

On Wednesday, Rep. Miles laid out House Bill 1471 in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. He released a statement to the media.

“I was shocked when the rogue police officers who beat Chad Holley were only charged with a misdemeanor,” said Rep. Miles. “HB 1471 gives prosecutors a valuable tool they need to go after police officers who abuse their position.”

Read More

Houston-area law enforcement not investigating child abuse cases


Houston, Texas

At a recent news conference on child abuse, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia talked tough at the podium.

"We have no mercy for people who will victimize children," Garcia said.

But the KHOU 11 News I-Team uncovered evidence that begs the question: Are his department's actions as strong as his words?

Read More

Laredo police officer sentenced to over 24 years in prison for drug trafficking

Laredo, Texas

A Laredo police officer on Monday was sentenced to over 24 years in prison after being convicted for drug trafficking firearms offenses, prosecutors informed.

Orlando Jesus Hale, 28, a member of Laredo Police Department (LPD), was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and possessing the firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime.

The law agent was sentenced to 235 months in prison for the drug trafficking offense and to a consecutive 60-month prison term for the firearms charges. Overall, Hale received a sentenced of 295 months in prison (24 years and a half).

Hale and LPD officer Pedro Martinez III conspired to escort vehicles loaded with cocaine through Laredo, Texas. The two defendants used their police radios to monitor LAPD dispatch traffic during the escort.

In addition, Hale and Martinez met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a drug dealer. Hale was carrying a gun during the meeting in which the defendants discussed details of the planned escorts.

On November 7, 2008, Hale and Martinez met with the agent in a Laredo hotel room. The two defendants agreed to escort loads of 20 kilograms each of cocaine from south to north Laredo using their personal vehicles.

On November 13, Martinez and then Hale each escorted a cocaine-loaded vehicle during the afternoon. They agreed to meet a person in san Antonio, Texas, to receive their payment on November 25.

Source

Monday, April 11, 2011

Galveston cop accused of beating man over noise complaint

Galveston, Texas

A Galveston man claims he was assaulted by a police officer during an arrest and seeks $1 million from the city.

In a lawsuit filed March 30 in Galveston County District Court, Nicholas Cruz claims a Galveston police officer beat him just before he was taken into custody for allegedly creating loud noise on March 21, 2010.

Cruz states he was given a citation by an officer when another officer arrived on the scene 30 minutes later and threw him to the ground, the original petition says.

He alleges the officer struck him several times in the abdomen and then arrested him. He claims additional officers came and witnessed the assault.

Police arrested another man for interfering with Cruz's arrest and the homeowner for also violating the city's noise ordinance.

Source

Ex-Sulphur Springs police chief charged with sex assault of a child

McKinney, Texas

A former North Texas police chief is accused of having sexual relations with a girl between 2001 and 2004.

A Collin County grand jury has indicted 61-year-old ex-Sulphur Springs Chief of Police Donald "Donnie" Gene Lewis of Dallas.

Lewis is in jail with a bond set at $250,000. Electronic jail records did not list an attorney for Lewis, who was arrested Thursday on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, eight counts of indecency with a child/sexual contact and five counts of sexual assault of a child. If convicted, Lewis faces up to life in prison.

Plano police have declined to release details of the active case. Lewis was indicted last week.

Lewis served as a Sulphur Springs officer for more than 25 years. He retired in mid-2001.

Source

San Antonio Police Officer found guilty on DWI charge



A 34-year-old former San Antonio police officer has been convicted on a charge of DWI.

It took a six-member jury nine hours to reach its verdict. Winder Morales was arrested in 2009 after crashing his car.

His blood-alcohol level was .08, right at the legal limit.

Morales face up to two years in jail or up to two years probation. A judge will sentence Morales in six weeks after a pre-sentencing investigation.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education has an open investigation on Morales. He could lose his license to serve as a peace officer in the state of Texas.

Source

Sunday, April 10, 2011

McKinney Police Officer Sued for breaking teenagers arm

McKinney, Texas

The city of McKinney and a McKinney police officer are facing a lawsuit after the police officer allegedly broke a high school student's arm.

Clifford Griffing filed suit against Officer Cody McGrew, Officer John Doe and the city of McKinney on March 28 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

In April 2009, Clifford Griffing, a student at McKinney Boyd High School, was ill with stomach problems. Shortly after lunch time, Griffing felt that he could not physically attend the rest of his classes for the day.

He left the nurses office and was walking toward an exit door when he states an officer yelled "You got to get back in the school!"

After asking several questions, the officer wrote Griffing a truancy ticket. When he received the ticket, he turned and continued to walk through the exit doors.

According to the lawsuit, the officer yelled at Griffing and grabbed one of his arms and Officer McGrew grabbed the other. The suit states the officers twisted his arms and pushed him to the ground.

Griffing alleges he fell on his left arm and yelled to the officers that his arm was broken. The officers allegedly ignored Griffing and twisted his arms behind his back, causing a compound fracture with the bone protruding through the skin.

Source

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rosebud Police Chief Convicted Of Evidence Tampering

Marlin, Texas

Down in Rosebud, Police Chief Jeremiah Shults is free on bond, awaiting a sentencing hearing after a Falls County jury found him guilty on one of two counts of evidence tampering.

According to the indictment from October 2010, Shults was accused of concealing alcoholic beverage containers at the scene of an accident and altering the driver’s seat of a vehicle.

After about six hours of deliberation that stretched into the night Thursday, jurors convicted Shults on the evidence tampering count stemming from the removal of beer cans from the vehicle involved in the accident, but acquitted him on the count stemming from allegations he moved a seat in the vehicle.

Shults has decided to let the judge decide his punishment. A hearing will be held after a pre-sentence investigation by the county’s Adult Probation Department.

The offense carries a possible penalty of two to 10 years in prison.

Source

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Texas State Trooper indicted over bus encounter



Austin, Texas

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper captured on Capital Metro bus surveillance video grabbing, dragging and pushing a male passenger in October has been indicted by a Travis County grand jury on two misdemeanor charges.

Don MacFarlane, 55, who had been assigned to Capitol District patrol, was removed from his job pending an investigation into a complaint connected to the Oct. 3 encounter on the bus. On Wednesday, DPS officials said that "termination proceedings have been initiated" against MacFarlane but that he has not yet been fired.

Last Tuesday, the grand jury handed down an indictment charging him with official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, and assault, a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine.

Source

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Remember the tape of Houston Police Officers beating teen Chad Holley? Officers only receive misdemeanor charges and local TV station faces silence when asking about grand jury



Houston, Texas

It's now infamous, the video detailing the beating of a burglary susupect by HPD officers. The district attorney fought its release. Now the courthouse doesn't want you to know who was on the grand jury.

The video stunned the city. Four Houston cops await trial.

The criminal charge in the Holley case is official oppression. That's just a misdemeanor.

"If I wear a uniform and I come into your store and make you give me a hamburger because I'm in uniform and me beating a suspect who is handcuffed and that gets the same charge -- I think everybody in Houston should be appalled of that," said Rev. DZ Coffield, the president of the Houston NAACP.

Joe Larsen is a lawyer specializing in the public's right to know.

"The names of the grand jurors are announced in open court when they are empanelled," Larsen said.

But after Houston’s KTRK-TV asked, the district attorney's office notified the judge over the grand jury, Vanessa Velasquez.

Two days after our request, the judge issued an order barring any county employee from releasing the names. The DA's office now says its hands are now tied. The names of the grand jurors could be secret forever.

"I'm extremely dismayed. I think this subverts the Public Information Act on its face," Larsen said.

Source
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