BAYTOWN, Texas -- A fired Baytown police officer is indefinitely suspended and facing a felony bribery charge after investigators say he offered to dismiss traffic tickets in exchange for naked pictures of a teenaged driver.
Michael Coppock, a 9-year veteran of the Baytown Police Department, and a member of its SWAT team, was indicted on the second-degree felony Thursday.
As KHOU 11 Investigates first reported, the female driver says Coppock contacted her through social media about an hour after he ticketed her back in March.
According to sworn affidavits, investigators reviewed a series of screenshots and determined that the officer’s messages were “clearly coercive in nature” and that they put pressure on the teen to send naked photos of herself in exchange for her tickets being reduced to warnings.
At a news conference announcing the charges, a Baytown Police spokesman said Coppock was suspended indefinetly last week just as KHOU 11 Investigates was preparing to expose the allegations against the officer.
Investigators do not believe any of Coppock’s supervisors knew what the officer was doing, and say there’s no sign these types of indecent proposals are common among Baytown officers.
“The trust and confidence of our community is paramount and as such we will hold our officers to the highest levels of integrity as well as moral, ethical, and professional standards,” Lt. Steve Dorris said.
Coppock and his lawyer are expected to arrange his surrender on the felony charge.
Meanwhile, KHOU 11 Investigates asked Dorris if there was any sign Coppock had done this to other women.
“We are still exploring whether or not this has happened in the past,” Dorris said. “We don’t have any evidence to indicate that, but we’re definitely looking at those angles.”
The 18-year-old victim in this case sent a text message to KHOU 11 Investigates following Thursday’s announcement of the criminal charge, saying, “I’m glad he (Coppock) can’t do it to any other woman.”