, a Harris County grand jury decided not to indict two Houston Police Department officers involved in the shooting of Roland Carnaby. But to his wife’s lawyer, that’s not necessarily bad news.
Speaking in the front hallway of the Harris County criminal court building this afternoon, attorney Randall Kallinen said that a no bill from the grand jury helps the civil lawsuit he’s filed in federal court on behalf of Carnaby’s wife, Susan.
“One of the defenses is that the officers were following orders,” said Kallinen, “because to commit a crime you have to have bad intent. So if they were following what the City of Houston always does…it would seem to lend credence to the fact that the City of Houston has improper, dangerous policies and faulty training.”
Kallinen also said that Carnaby was a contractor for the CIA., FBI and Secret Service when he was shot in the back by police. The intelligence agencies have consistently denied Carnaby worked for them.
“I have spoken to individuals with the FBI, with the Secret Service and to people who knew [Carnaby] personally and he did in fact work” for the different agencies, Kallinen said.
He said he was not surprised by today’s decision from the grand jury.
“Only one officer has been true billed in the last 100 police shootings,” he claimed.
In the lawsuit, Kallinen lists nearly 70 officer-involved shootings of civilians that “involve questions of improper procedures regarding shootings when [officers were] not in objective fear of their lives or the lives of others, stopping suspects in vehicles and extracting suspects from vehicles.”
Kallinen says the list is not exhaustive.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
In addition to seeking damages, Susan Carnaby hopes to change the policies of the police department.
Among other things, the lawsuit requests that HPD officers will adopt safe procedures after a car chase and not rush a vehicle unless necessary, that officers will be trained in identifying federal law enforcement and agency ID's, and that a supervisor is to be notified during a car chase and will then direct the officers in procedures even after the car chase has ended to capture the suspect.
“Improper procedures and policies of the Houston Police Department caused [Carnaby’s] death,” said Kallinen. “If they would just do what other police agencies in the United States do, there wouldn’t have been this death.”
-- Chris Vogel