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Police misconduct in Pasadena, Texas

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Police Misconduct in Pasadena Texas

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There are numerous documented examples of police misconduct in Pasadena, Texas, United States. These are some of the more current:

Location of city of Pasadena within Harris County and the US state of Texas

Wrongful death suit[edit]

Parents of a college student alleged in a 3rd of April 2012 wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit that the police attempted to cover up wrongdoing, and that this was part of a "pattern of abuse by the department".[1]

Narcotics officer prosecutions by district attorney[edit]

  • In 2009 two Pasadena Texas Police Narcotics Officers were indicted on separate charges involving narcotics investigations.[2] Officer Raymond Garivey was indicted on two counts of filing a false report, a class B misdemeanor.[2] Garivey was accused of lying to a Harris County prosecutor by denying the existence a witness in a case. The witness, according to the Pasadena Police Department, had given information leading Garivey to arrest a suspect in possession of a large quantity of cocaine.[2] Officer David Leal,was indicted on two 2nd degree felony charges of tampering with a government record. Charges against Leal focus on written statements in official documents about the circumstances surrounding Leal’s arrest of a suspect found with about three pounds of marijuana, according to the police department.[2]

Alcohol-related incidents[edit]

Officer arrests[edit]

  • In 2003 Pasadena police officer Allen Ray Veronie was suspended without pay after he was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in his private vehicle.[3]

Officer suspensions[edit]

In 2009 Pasadena Police SGT Wesley Fojt was Suspended after several Alcohol Related Incidents.[4] Pasadena Police did not provide details to the media of the incidents, but stated that the incidents had occurred while SGT Wesley Fojt was already on temporary suspension pending the outcome of an unrelated driving while intoxicated charge.[4]

Officer sexual abuse charges[edit]

Officer fired for sexually harassing women during investigations[edit]

Pasadena police officer Carl Scott Paxton was indicted and susuqently fired for sexually harassing a woman during a 2003 investigation. Another woman also came forward with a similar complaint after seeing the story in the local newspaper. 2003 Assistant Police chief Cunningham said that there are at least seven victims. All of the alleged incidents happened in the women's homes in the Pasadena area. -2003 "The Pasadena Citizen"

Officer road rage and deadly conduct convictions[edit]

  • In 2007 Pasadena Police Officer Marcus Justin Kacz was found Guilty in a Road Rage Incident.[6] A jury found Pasadena Police Officer Marcus Justin Kacz guilty of deadly conduct when he shot his gun at a man in a road rage incident while off duty.[6] Harris County Court at Law No. 1 visiting Judge Jim Larkin sentenced Kacz to 18 months probation for the Class A misdemeanor.[6] Officer Kacz had to pay a $400 fine, attend anger management classes, do community service, and undergo random urine tests.[6] "I think you made a big mistake and showed bad judgment," Judge Larkin said during sentencing.[6] Kacz, 26, was in civilian clothes when he chased a driver who cut him off about 2 a.m. on Beltway 8 at Spencer, said prosecutor Joe Owmby.[6] While traveling along the East Sam Houston Tollway, Esteban passed Kacz's vehicle, which began following him. Kacz, an off-duty Pasadena police officer, was driving his own unmarked pickup truck.[7] Several minutes later, Esteban exited the tollway and stopped at a red light. Kacz, who had stopped behind Esteban, then got out of his vehicle and approached the Explorer. Esteban later testified that Kacz was saying something as he approached, but Esteban could not hear him as the driver's side window was closed.[7] It is not disputed that Kacz was not in uniform, and instead was wearing only a Polo shirt, jeans, and boots. According to Esteban, Cornelio, and Arantez, Kacz approached the Explorer with his handgun drawn.[7] Esteban later testified that, fearing Kacz might shoot him, he ran the red light and sped away. Kacz returned to his vehicle and followed Esteban to the apartment complex where Cornelio was living at the time. Upon reaching the parking lot, Esteban parked the Explorer, exited the vehicle, and ran away. The other occupants also quickly exited the Explorer. But while Arantez and Sanchez ran away, Cornelio returned to the Explorer to get the keys. By the time Cornelio had retrieved the keys from the Explorer's ignition, Kacz had arrived, gotten out of his truck, and was again approaching with his weapon drawn.[7] It is undisputed that Cornelio threw a bottle of beer at Kacz, and that the two men wrestled on the ground for control of Kacz=s handgun. Ultimately, Cornelio got away from Kacz, returned to his Explorer, and quickly drove off. As Cornelio sped away, Kacz fired shots at the vehicle.[7] Cornelio, Esteban, and their friends were then quickly apprehended by officers of the Pasadena Police Department, responding to a call involving a police officer at the apartment complex. For firing his handgun in Cornelio's direction as he drove away, Kacz was charged with one count of deadly conduct.[7] He was tried by a jury and convicted. The trial court imposed a sentence of 180 days in the Harris County Jail, but suspended the sentence in favor of eighteen months probation and a fine of $400.00.[7]

2008 officer love-triangle scandal[edit]

  • In 2008 A Pasadena Police Officer and a South Houston Police SGT were charged with beating a Pasadena Police Officer during an apparent love triangle.[8] Tina Marie Perez, 37, a Pasadena police officer, and Timothy Robert Troxell, 38, a South Houston police sergeant, are charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a confrontation between them and another Pasadena police officer, Pasadena Officer Marvin Ouellette, 36.[8] Officer Ouellette was treated at a hospital and released after the attack by the two Officers. Officer Perez was placed on administrative leave by the Pasadena Police Department.[8]

Texas official oppression charges[edit]

  • In 2005 Pasadena police officer Jonathan Strange was suspended and charged with official oppression.[9]Police say a jailer reported he saw police officer Jonathan Strange push a handcuffed suspect against the wall and kick him in the chest.[9] Officer Strange had arrested Robert Keane at his ex-girlfriend's house on criminal trespassing charges. He was suspended with pay during the investigation.[9]

Robbery by officer[edit]

2007 finding of homicide in police custody[edit]

In 2007 the death of Pasadena Jail inmate, Pedro Gonzales, was ruled to be homicide caused primarily by trauma to the lungs with rib fractures, determined Harris County Medical Examiner's Office.[11]

Witness account and police response[edit]

A witness to the force used by Pasadena Police officers Jason Buckaloo and Christopher Jones on Gonzales said the 51-year-old man was not struggling or resisting arrest as the Officers hit him and repeatedly knocked his body to the ground.[11] "Just the way they were beating him and him not moving, I think that's (the homicide ruling) pretty right," the witness, Evelyn Moreno, stated.[11] Shortly after driving past the beating at about 2 a.m., Moreno called 911 from a pay phone to report police brutality, but a Pasadena Police Department dispatcher, and her supervisors did not send an ambulance or police to investigate.[11] Gonzales was found dead in a Pasadena Jail cell about five hours after Pasadena Police Officers Buckaloo and Jones arrested him between 2 and 2:30 a.m., less than half a mile from the jail.[11] Pasadena Police stated that no one was sent to investigate Moreno's call because the scene had cleared within a few minutes. The incident report, however, shows that officers had not booked Gonzales into the jail until 25 minutes after Moreno's call.[11]

2009 improper evidence controversy and charge dismissal[edit]

  • In July 2009 a video from the Pasadena Jail was featured on Houston's ABC 13 News[12] showing 9 Pasadena Police Officers appearing to beat an African-American suspect,[12] who was later found to have a broken leg, while attempting to get a blood sample for alcohol analysis.[12] A judge dismissed the charges after lawyers argued that it was done with excessive force and in unsanitary conditions.[12]