Texas Officers Keep Licenses Despite Committing Crimes

Jim Harrington, a professor of law at the University of Texas and the founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project, holds that an officer working with a criminal record jeopardizes public safety.

The bitter stories of officers violating the law are no longer news to the public.

Quite astonishing, however, remains the unbelievable fact that the state law allows repeat offenders to keep their badges.

Rachel Legsdin was a victim of an officer’s assault in 2013.

Following her experience, Legsdin contends that the system needs to change. In her words, “that just does not seem like you should be having criminals upholding the law.”

Rachel suffered a bruise around her neck for which Austin police arrested Shawn Harris.
She was rather “terrified” to learn that Shawn is a deputy.

After a written apology Shawn was granted a deferred prosecution, though he is obliged to stay clean for two years before the state agrees to drop the charges.

An insightful investigation by KVUE Defenders shows that in 2008 at least 4,800 officers at the state and local level were arrested.
Of those officers at least 536 have been arrested more than once.

According to the investigation, a former San Marcos police officer Misiaszek Dan was arrested twice by Hays County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2010, he assaulted his wife and in 2011, he was arrested after firing his gun toward a driver during a road rage incident, when he retired from the force.

Jim Harrington, a professor of law at the University of Texas and the founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project, holds that an officer working with a criminal record jeopardizes public safety.

Harrington says that “any time that officer presses charges against somebody else, that officer’s credibility will be challenged in court, the jury will look at that probably not believe it then, which means that you’re not solving crime.”

Can we not simply revoke their licenses?

Well, according to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, by law, it can only revoke an officer’s license, if they are convicted of a felony.

By implication, even if an officer admits to multiple misdemeanor assaults, they can stay on the force in Texas.

What is your take on this?

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