Former Hedwig Village police officer accused of asking for sexual favors during traffic stop

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A former Hedwig Village police officer was arrested this week after being accused of offering sexual favors for preferential treatment.

Richard Hernandez, 37, posted a $2,500 bond for his charge of official oppression this week. In July 2020, he pulled over a woman for a traffic stop, according to Kimberly Smith, the prosecutor on the case.

When Hernandez ran the woman's driver's license, he found she had open warrants.

"Essentially, what he does is he makes a bargain with her," Smith said. "He won't arrest her if she gives him sexual favors."

The woman, who is in her mid-30s, was alone in the car.

"She acted like a willing participant and then once he stepped far enough from her vehicle, she fled the scene," Smith said.

Hours later, the woman reported what happened to the police.

"When you are dealing with an individual who wears a badge, who wears a uniform, takes an oath to protect the community, you are not dealing with your typical criminal," Smith said. "It makes it that much more challenging. They know what interrogation is like. They know what to say in an interview."

A spokesperson for Hedwig Village police said they are disappointed to hear what happened. Hernandez was let go from the department in August 2020. Records from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement list Hedwig Village as the only agency he has worked for. He started in 2012.

Smith said they feel Hernandez may have done this before.

"You look at their actions, their confidence in approaching the victim, the crime itself, the level of severity of the circumstances surrounding the crime, how it came about, how it occurred, the language that they used, their actions, their words, all of that in combination leads you to believe this person has not just done it this one time," Smith said. "This is just the first time they have been reported."

If convicted, Hernandez faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

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