The Harris County District Attorney’s Office refused to allow officers to arrest two suspects on weapons charges.
Houston, TX – Houston police charged an 18-year-old woman who threw a pistol out of a car window with “littering with gun” because the Harris County prosecutors refused to authorize weapons charges.
The incident occurred on Sunday when two Houston police officers on patrol initiated a traffic stop in the 7200-block of Tobruk Lane, according to an internal Houston Police Officers’ Union memo obtained by Blue Lives Matter.
As they were attempting to stop the vehicle, both officers witnessed the passenger throwing a pistol out of the car’s window.
Once they had the vehicle stopped, the officers detained the male 17-year-old driver and his 18-year-old female passenger and located the weapon where it had been tossed, according to the confidential memo.
The driver told the officers that he had given the gun to his passenger and told her to throw it out the window.
All of the admissions were captured on the officers’ bodycams so it should have been an easy slam dunk to charge both the driver and his passenger, but that isn’t how it works in Harris County.
Law enforcement officers in Harris County are required to contact the district attorney’s office for permission to charge before they actually arrest a suspect, Houston Police Officers’ Union Vice President Doug Griffith explained to Blue Lives Matter.
“We are the only county in the state that does this,” Griffith said. “We have to contact the DA’s office and ask permission to file the charge. It’s always been that way.”
What’s different now is that current Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has quickly earned herself a reputation as a friend to the Houston criminals by refusing to charge anything but the most violent of crimes.
“In my 28 years with the Houston Police Department, this is the first district attorney who has actively refused charges on good hard criminals where we have body camera evidence,” Griffith told Blue Lives Matter. “It’s truly sickening that our officers put themselves in harm’s way and then turn around and have a DA refuse all charges.”
And that’s exactly what happened on Sunday.
The officers contacted the district attorney’s office to get permission to charge the pair who had tossed the gun under Texas’ Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon (UCW) statute and spoke with Assistant District Attorney Twyanette Wallace, according to the internal memo.
Wallace declined to authorize the weapons charges.
So the officers contacted the chief district attorney on duty, Assistant District Attorney Eric Bily, and presented their case.
Bily, like his colleague Wallace, declined to authorize a weapons charge.
He told the officers that there was no crime of UCW because the teenagers were just trying to “abandon the gun,” the police union’s memo read.
Continue reading here.
[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Sandy Malone and originally published at Blue Lives Matter. Title changed by P&P.]
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