The otherwise mundane traffic stop has been discussed by several peace officers on an internet blog, and exposed some difference of opinions on how the stop occurred.
What is not in dispute is what is captured on the deputy's dash camera as well as his body camera.
The videos, obtained by Eyewitness News in an open records request, shows that on May 8 at 7:33 a.m., a deputy in a marked vehicle was driving westbound on Louetta approaching TC Jester. The light turns red, but three vehicles make a left turn after the light changed colors.
The deputy initiated a traffic stop on the last vehicle to turn left, a black truck being driven by Constable Herman, who was in uniform.
The camera captures Constable Herman getting out of his truck, then walking back towards the patrol car. At that point, the deputy's body camera picks up the conversation:
Deputy: I'm sorry what did you say, constable?
Herman: I said are you going to get out and approach my car or are we going to sit here all day?
Deputy: Well, I'm trying to safely conduct my traffic stop, sir. I'm going to run your plate, make sure your vehicle is not stolen. You know all that standard patrol procedures, right, constable?
Herman: No, I didn't know there was a standard, but I guess there is.
Constable Herman then mentions he turned on his strobe lights and he was trying to work, as the deputy continues his traffic stop.
Deputy: I need your license please, and your proof of insurance.
Herman: Are you serious?
Deputy: You just ran a red light right in front of me!
Herman: I didn't run a red light.
Deputy: It's on camera.
Herman: If I did, I certainly didn't mean to.
FULL VIDEO: Deputy stops constable after running red light
The voices of both men seemed to indicate annoyance, but both also remained courteous. A few minutes later, the deputy is seen returning the constable's license, they wish each other a wonderful day, and both men drive off.
Reached on the phone, Constable Herman did not want to speak on camera. However, he said that he was following two possible suspects in a vehicle in front of him that morning, and that he didn't realize he ran a red light. In hindsight, Constable Herman says he clearly ran a red light and made a mistake in the course of doing his work.
The Harris County Sheriff's Department released this statement:
A Harris County Sheriff's Office deputy conducted a traffic stop after observing a pickup truck that appeared to run a red light at TC Jester and Louetta on the morning of May 8. The driver of the vehicle cooperated with the deputy, and no citations were issued.
Constable Herman also told us over the phone that he found it suspicious that the sheriff's deputy was tailing his truck, and "surreptitiously" recorded him driving. The Harris County Sheriff's Department says its dash cameras automatically roll back and record the video 30 seconds before a deputy turns on his lights. They see this as a textbook stop that just happened to involve a constable.
Both Precinct 4 and the Harris County Sheriff's Department consider this matter closed.
Asked if the traffic stop perhaps exposed some ongoing rifts between some members of the two law enforcement agencies, neither side had any comments on the record.
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