The Houston Police Department confirms four of its Traffic Enforcement Division officers are facing criminal allegations as part of an HPD internal affairs investigation uncovered by the I-Team.
One of those officers, Rudolph Farias, shot and killed himself Tuesday in a downtown police parking garage. Farias, 51, was a 21-year veteran of the force.
Multiple sources confirm the other officers under investigation are John Garcia, Robert Manzanales and Gregory Rosa.
The I-Team analyzed months of records to unravel their alleged scheme. Officers would list one another as witnesses on speeding tickets, so they could later testify in court and get paid overtime.
But the problem? Records show they also were writing tickets at the same exact time, at a completely different location.
For example, at 12:29 a.m. one February morning, an officer is shown as a witnessing officer on the Katy Freeway near the Westcott Street exit. But also at 12:29 a.m, the same officer is listed as writing a ticket to another citizen near Gessner Road.
That's seven miles away.
Another set of questionable tickets occurred in May at 12:52 a.m. Records show the same officer is listed as witnessing a speeder at I-610 and Memorial Drive. But somehow, he also wrote a ticket at 12:52 a.m. on a different road—I-10 near Gessner Road.
"Just to remind you, just like any other citizen, they're innocent until proven guilty of any allegations," said Ray Hunt, President of the Houston Police Officers' Union.
Hunt said the Union is ready to offer legal counsel to any of the targeted officers.
They all have been relieved of duty, ordered to turn in their badges, and for the time being, stripped of their police powers.