, 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.
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
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.