In unrelated incidents occurring months or years apart, three Harris County Sheriff's Office employees have been indicted for allegedly beating up suspects in a variety of different ways, the sheriff's office and Harris County District Attorney's Office revealed on Wednesday.
In the first case, Sergeant Marco Carrizales, 37, is charged with aggravated assault by a public servant — a first-degree felony — and is accused of hitting a man so hard in the face with an "unknown object" that he broke the man's eye socket. According to the DA's office, Carrizales was working an off-duty job directing traffic for a refinery when he saw a man blow a stop sign, prompting him to chase after the driver. DA's office spokesman Dane Schiller declined to explain how this chase escalated to Carrizales allegedly busting the man's eye.
The incident happened way back in 2015. HCSO spokesman Jason Spencer said the sheriff's office Internal Affairs Division completed its investigation of Carrizales in June 2016 and forwarded the results to the DA's office — but that by May 2017, it decided to go ahead and discipline Carrizales instead of waiting on the conclusion of the DA's investigation, since so much time had passed. Carrizales was suspended for ten days and placed on probation for 180 days, during which he was barred from working extra jobs. Since the indictment, he has also been placed on administrative leave while superiors consider his future at the agency.
Schiller declined to explain specifically in Carrizales's case what the hold-up was on the investigation, but said in general that there was a backlog.
"Our Civil Rights Division inherited many cases from the prior administration. We added an additional prosecutor to assist with the backlog shortly after taking office in January 2017 and have worked through them case by case," he said.
In the second case, Dylan Goddard, a 24-year-old detention officer, is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — with the deadly weapon being a concrete floor. In May 2016, police say, a surveillance video captured Goddard lifting an inmate and "body slamming him on his skull," as the DA's office put it. The inmate, who was shackled in handcuffs and leg irons at the time of the assault, received seven staples to the back of his head.
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The sheriff's office said his case is still under review and Goddard has yet to be disciplined, but has been placed on administrative leave as a result of the indictment.
Last, Michael Holley, a 31-year-old former jailer, is charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault for allegedly beating two different handcuffed inmates in a matter of a week in December 2016. In the first case, police say, Holley was caught on surveillance escorting an inmate to the jail infirmary when, as the inmate turned to face Holley, Holley punched him in the face multiple times and then threw him to the ground. Then, five days later, police say, he shoved a handcuffed inmate into a wall, which was also caught on surveillance.
Spencer said the case was bad enough that the sheriff's office went ahead and fired Holley in August at the conclusion of the internal affairs investigation.
It's unclear why the other alleged beat-ups wouldn't warrant termination too, but Spencer declined to provide more details about the cases, citing the pending criminal investigation.