Video shows the 1 arrest that led to review of Friendswood police officer's 235 cases

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BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Friday, July 16, 2021
Video shows the 1 arrest that led to review of officer's 235 cases
The review into 235 cases tied to a Friendswood police officer comes as a judge is now deciding whether she is a credible and reliable witness.

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- A Friendswood police officer has been suspended with pay after a judge ruled her an "unreliable and not a credible witness" in one of the hundreds of cases under review over their credibility.

Thirty of the DWI cases tied to Officer Sara Carter were dismissed by the Galveston County District Attorney's Office, and now, hundreds of other active cases investigated by her are being looked into.

Eyewitness News learned the public corruption division within the Harris County District Attorney's Office is now reviewing 235 cases tied to Carter.

Attempts to reach Carter have been unsuccessful. The Friendswood Police Department declined an interview request to speak with them about her.

However, the department released this statement:

"The Friendswood Police Department is now in receipt of the judge's signed order dated July 9, 2021. The information contained in the written order is sufficient to open an internal affairs investigation. This investigation will be conducted by the Friendswood Police Department and outside legal counsel assigned by Olson and Olson, LLP. As such, Officer Sara Carter's duty status has changed from administrative leave to suspended with pay and she will remain in that status until the investigation is complete."

The credibility review of hundreds of arrests involving a Friendswood officer is being tied to just one - a 2019 DWI traffic stop. And ABC13 has obtained video of the arrest.

In 2017, Carter became the focus of an internal affairs investigation after a supervisor accused her of pulling people over without any probable cause.

"The investigation revealed that while the higher standard of 'probable cause' may not have been present in all cases at the time of the stop, the proper standard of 'reasonable suspicion' for Officer Carter's investigative stops was met in all instances reviewed in the investigation," wrote attorney Brian Begle in an email provided by Friendswood PD. "As such, the complaint was not sustained."

The Galveston County's District Attorney's Office told ABC13 they weren't made aware of the investigation until April 2021. After reviewing the details of the report, the DA's office said it caused them concern and prompted prosecutors to dismiss more than 30 DWI cases.

They also notified all the lawyers representing the people that Carter arrested.

Dan Krieger is a defense attorney who recently took a client's DWI case involving Carter to trial. Krieger said Carter provided untruthful courtroom testimony and motioned a judge to suppress her testimony. He also asked the judge to rule on whether Carter is a credible and reliable witness.

That determination could impact all of her current and previous cases. Krieger said the 2017 investigation is information that should have been made available sooner.

"The gist of it was that they didn't belong there," said Krieger. "She stated that if you were from a city outside of Friendswood, [such as] Pasadena, Texas City, La Marque, that was suspicion for her for you being in Friendswood."

Below is the court filing of one of the DWI cases in which the judge ultimately dismissed on Friday:

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