Houston, TX — Disturbing video has been released following the indictment of a Houston police officer for shooting a suspect and then kicking and stomping him while he was down. Former Houston Police Officer Bruce Johnson now faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.
A Harris County grand jury indicted Johnson last week for the incident which took place on February 16. On that day, Johnson, who was still a police officer, hurried home after learning that a potential burglary was in progress.
When Johnson arrived at his home, he found Derek Carr, who was in the midst of carrying some of Johnson’s belongings out of his home. Like anyone should be able to do if their home is being robbed, Johnson confronted Carr and shot him. However, that is not the reason he’s been indicted.
“Officer Johnson delivered a number of blows with his foot by kicking Carr while he was on the ground incapacitated after he’d been shot,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said at a news conference.
As the Chron Reports:
Prosecutors in the case said Carr, who is in the Harris County Jail and has been charged with burglary, was carrying Johnson family belongings as well as a 16-inch metal tool. Carr, 42, is held in the Harris County Jail and faces a burglary charge — the 11th time he has been charged with burglary since 1992, according to court records.
The two got into a physical altercation. Johnson shot Carr once in the arm and once in the back, Ogg said.
A bystander’s video recorded Johnson after the shooting as he kicked the wounded Carr about 10 times, prosecutor Jamie Reyna said.
Photo evidence also showed that Johnson moved the metal tool, which Ogg said was a clear effort to tamper with the scene.
“He moved a critical piece of evidence,” Ogg said. “It wasn’t a mistake. There’s not a question (about the) intent.”
In a statement, Houston Police Chief, Art Acevedo said the department was “extremely disappointed in the actions of this former employee,” who retired in March after 23 years with the department. Acevedo pointed to the role of the Special Investigations Unit he created to examine “critical cases,” according to the Chron.
It is important to point out that no one here is advocating against defending one’s home from a burglar or other would-be intruder. But that is not the issue in this instance.
On the surface, this case appeared to be a simple home defense issue and no wrongdoing had taken place. However, after the video surfaced and Johnson was found to have tampered with the evidence to change the potential outcome of the incident, it was clear he’d committed crimes.
“While the circumstances in this case on the day of occurrence suggested no wrongdoing, a proper impartial investigation by HPD SIU lead to the discovery of facts and evidence resulting in the indictment of this former employee,” Acevedo said. “The Houston Police Department remains committed to transparency and accountability.”
This is the second case in only a very short time in which a police officer has been indicted in Houston. Hopefully, it is indicative of a new level of police accountability taking root.
Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry, for murder in the deadly fight at Denny’s.
Terry Thompson, a 41-year-old Harris County man choked another man to death at a local Denny’s. The dramatic footage of the fight emerged in early June which prompted a heavy backlash by people wanting to know why the couple was not charged. The backlash apparently had an effect.
“We believe that this grand jury true bill is a reflection of our community’s belief that a crime occurred,” Ogg said. “And that crime was murder and it was participated by Terry Thompson and his wife Deputy Chauna Thompson.”
While the indictments appear to show an increased attempt at police accountability, as the Free Thought Project has reported far too often, an indictment rarely leads to a conviction.