Officers disciplined for deadly chase

November 18, 2008 4:20:31 PM PST
It was a shocking and controversial ending to a police chase seven months ago that left one man dead. And now, the death of Roland Carnaby is back in the spotlight as the officers involved are disciplined following an internal affairs investigation. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Just four months ago, a grand jury cleared the officers involved in the chase of any criminal wrongdoing. The shooting was found to be justified, considering Carnaby made a sudden reach for what turned out to be his cell phone.

From the dash-cam video the day of the deadly shooting, you could see Sgt. Andrew Washington taking aim at Carnaby before firing. On Tuesday, we learned HPD's internal affairs division cleared Sgt. Washington for the shooting, but disciplined him for not following departmental rules when it comes to high risk vehicle approaches.

"According to the findings, I think the department is trying to say the officers shouldn't have approached the vehicle," said Houston Police Officers' Union attorney Chris Hoffman. "They should have remained under cover, in other words, using their vehicles they used at the scene."

Hoffman represents both Sgt. Washington and Officer Cecil Foster.

"Obviously, the officers disagree with the department finding fault in what they did and disciplining them for something they were doing the very best they could in the situation that was presented to them," said Hoffman. "And it's never appropriate for the department to cite officers without taking into consideration all of the factors that are out at the scene."

He confirmed Sgt. Washington received a one day suspension and Officer Foster got a written reprimand. Both men are appealing.

Carnaby's widow remains unsatisfied. Her attorney, Randall Kallinen, says the internal affairs investigation proves his point that the officers violated procedure and that they were improperly trained.

"This resulted in the death of an individual," he said. "Their punishment was extremely light and the city of Houston is to blame."

The civil lawsuit is ongoing against the city. Both officers have filed appeals on those disciplinary actions.

The federal lawsuit by Carnaby's wife, in part, states the police officers shot him, and then failed to provide medical treatment resulting in his death. The suit also claims police used excessive force by breaking Carnaby's car window and firing their weapons.

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