In a week that’s seen its fair share of negative reports about police misconduct, a Houston TV station says it’s uncovered a possible ticket-rigging operation at the Houston Police Department.
It started with a simple traffic ticket, when an off-duty police officer driving his personal car was pulled over for speeding, according KHOU-TV. He noticed something amiss when he looked at his ticket, which included the name of the officer who wrote the ticket and another one who witnessed the violation.
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The problem, KHOU-TV reported, was that there were no other officers present at the traffic stop.
The ticketed off-duty officer, identified only as “Jerry,” brought the matter to the attention of KHOU and the police department. “I immediately [knew] that something’s hinky with the ticket,” he told the station. “There was no other officer. He was the only officer there.”
KHOU-TV has since uncovered what it calls a “ticket-rigging scheme” that had officers not present at the time of various traffic stops earning overtime pay to appear in court to say they witnessed the infractions.
The station searched through police records and found that cops were serving as witnesses on speeding tickets when they were actually miles away on other calls at the time.
Three officers have been placed on desk duty, and a fourth committed suicide earlier in a police parking garage earlier in the week, KHOU reported.
The police union insists the officers are “innocent until proven guilty,” according to the station. “I can’t assume there’s an irregularity,” Police Chief Charles McClelland added. “I can’t assume the officers falsified a government document. I can’t assume anything until I have proof or evidence.”
Watch the broadcast below:
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