Man says irate off-duty officer attacked him, took cell phone


by staff

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 20 at 8:00 PM

HOUSTON – An investigation is under way after a business owner said he used his cell phone to catch an off-duty officer fighting with his neighbor.

The man said the officer took his phone and, months later, police still have the phone.

The Houston Police Department confirmed that it received a complaint last Friday and said its internal affairs department began investigating Wednesday.

Frank Herzik, 61, said in November he heard arguing across the street from his office.

Workers at Sai’s Auto Service didn’t want to go on camera but said an angry customer, an off-duty Houston police officer was berating their mechanic over service.

Worried about that mechanic’s safety, Herzik said he recording everything on his cell phone until the officer ran his way yelling.

“Give me the phone! Give me the phone! Give me the phone! --And he’s fighting me like that and he’s fighting me trying to get it, and he’s pulling, so eventually we end up over there and eventually, like I say, I dropped the phone, he grabs the phone and runs,” Herzik said.

He said the officer ran off yelling, “code 1, officer down.”

Surveillance footage shows the off-duty officer leading on-duty officers into Herzik’s business.  Later a second wave of officers came looking for Herzik, who said he left in fear.

Then, he said, came six months of frustration.

“Internal affairs would tell me they could not investigate it because it was an on-going investigation,” he said.

A Houston Police Department spokesman disputed that.  Off camera he said Herzik just signed and filed his complaint last Friday.  It’s now an internal affairs investigation, so police  said they cannot discuss details or even confirm that this officer is the focus.

With that said Herzik said his demands are simple.

“I would like my phone back. I would like for the officer to be disciplined,” Herzik said.