Browsing: Bad Cops

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-8-17-55-amScreenshot

What should a police officer do when a handcuffed prisoner spits on him?

Yell at him and spit back? Punch him in the face? Slam his head against a metal door frame, then choke him from behind in a neck nerve-hold, causing him to collapse to the floor and convulse?

In the eyes of one Houston police officer now being sued in federal court, apparently Option 3 is the way to go.

screen_shot_2016-11-11_at_11-05-18_amScreenshot/Facebook Live/Ashton P. Woods

Five activists were arrested at an anti-Donald Trump rally last night that began at City Hall and ended outside the Houston Police Department as marchers expressed their disapproval with the next president of the United States, yelling, “We reject the president-elect!” and “Fuck Donald Trump!” for blocks.

Houston Police Department jail records show the protesters were each charged with assaulting a police officer. Video, however, appears to show a different story.
12376173_10207181448388555_2397075597732748251_n-1Courtesy of Kris Smith

Neither Kris Smith nor his attorney understand how talking on the phone on a sidewalk next to a fast-food restaurant parking lot ever became a punishable crime, but one night this past December, Smith found himself in jail because of it.

Smith was walking along Westheimer in Montrose, on the way to his girlfriend’s house, when the phone rang. His employer was calling, and so to get away from the bustling traffic, Smith walked toward the Burger King where it was a little quieter. Midway through his brief phone conversation, a police cruiser pulled into the parking lot right in front of a man who appeared homeless, sitting at the very back of the lot. Police got out to arrest the man. Not wanting to deal with the ruckus, Smith started to walk away — when a cop yelled out to him, “Stop. Come over here,” Smith remembers.

After his arrest, he was jeered because of his gender identity.

img_0219-1Three years after being fired from Precinct 7 for insubordination — and two years after her husband, former Precinct 6 constable Victor Trevino, was convicted of a felony related to using charity money for gambling — Silvia Trevino is apparently asking Harris County voters to forget all that and vote for her to become the next Precinct 6 constable.

Trevino defeated Democratic incumbent Constable Heliodoro Martinez in the primaries to become the Democratic candidate, running against Republican Richard “Rick” Gonzales, a 30-year veteran of the Houston Police Department. Martinez had replaced Trevino’s husband, Victor, after Victor was convicted of felony misapplication of fiduciary duty in November 2014. After a lengthy Harris County District Attorney’s Office investigation, prosecutors and fraud investigators accused Victor of siphoning money he had raised for his own charity — Constable’s Athletic Recreational and Education Events Inc. (CARE), which helped kids and elderly people in the East End — to go gambling at Louisiana casinos. Though he never admitted to any wrongdoing, Victor pleaded guilty, escaped jail time and was placed on probation for ten years.

So here’s where Silvia Trevino comes in.

screen_shot_2016-10-17_at_5-16-24_pmFrom the grand jury packet

The off-duty Navasota police officer working security at a northwest Harris County apartment complex thought he saw a teenager with marijuana. The teenager and his friend, sitting in a Chevy Malibu, thought they saw a robber approaching them with a gun.

What began with officer Rey Garza’s mere suspicion, however, ended with Garza’s fatal shooting of one of the unarmed teens, 17-year-old Jonathen Santellana. As the armed Garza, who was wearing not a security uniform but a T-shirt, workout shorts and sandals, approached Santellana and his friend to confront them, the teens quickly put the car in reverse as he got up to the window. Garza went as far as trying to open Santellana’s driver-side door to snatch the keys out of the ignition, Garza has testified. But Santellana sped away. And then Garza shot him in the back of the head.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-5-44-43-pmScreenshot/Facebook

You would think that if corrections officers wanted to talk in graphic and violent terms about the people they get paid to watch and, theoretically, take care of every day, they would do so in private.

But apparently not.

After the Texas Observer published a story about a transgender inmate appealing a federal judge’s dismissal of her lawsuit seeking gender confirmation surgery, people who self-identified on Facebook as working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice posted the story in a group called Texas Correctional Employees – Huntsville and proceeded to make crude and violent comments about the inmate.

They could have started a DUI investigation, authorities said. Instead, two Los Angeles police officers drove a motorist home, told him to go to sleep and called it a night, prosecutors allege. Oh, and then they lied on their report, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Now officers Rene Marcial Ponce, 39, and Irene Gomez, 38, are facing formal allegations of filing a false police report and “conspiracy to commit an act injurious to the public,” according to the DA’s office. The two have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say that on Oct. 26, 2014, the duo responded to a collision in the 3000 block of East Side Boulevard in Boyle Heights.

5267408454_4d9b964b3f_z-2_1_H. Michael Karshis/Flickr

He didn’t want to go to sleep, because sleep meant nightmares, and nightmares meant reliving a rape.

Courtney Richardson, incarcerated in the Harris County Jail on charges of vehicular manslaughter, thought he was going crazy, and in many ways, he was. His eyes were so red from lack of sleep that it looked like he had been on drugs. He told the jail’s mental health staff he had been tempted with thoughts of suicide — the nightmares would stop then — and so he was placed in solitary confinement for more than a month, stripped of his clothes and given only a protective suicide blanket. He hated it there but, still, was fearful of leaving his cell, scared he would run into the guard he says sexually assaulted him on March 7.

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