Former HPD officer accused of assaulting man during arrest has case dismissed due to missed deadline

Jessica Willey Image
Thursday, October 5, 2023
Former officer's assault case dropped after prosecutors miss deadline
A former Houston police officer whose command to shoot a suspect was captured on video is going to fight for his job back after his assault case was dropped.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A criminal case against a former Houston police officer accused of assaulting a man during an arrest has been dismissed.

Lucas Vieira is no longer facing a charge of aggravated assault by a public servant after the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas ruled that the Harris County District Attorney's Office failed to indict the officer in time.

"We hold that the indictment filed on July 9, 2021, for an assault committed on July 7, 2019, is time-barred because it was not brought within the two-year statute of limitations. We reverse the judgments of the lower courts below and dismiss the indictment," the opinion dated Sept. 27, 2023, reads.

As reported first by the Houston Chronicle, prosecutors missed the deadline by two days.

"We disagree with the Court of Criminal Appeals decision, but we respect it," a DA spokesman told ABC13.

The assault stemmed from the arrest of Aundre Howard during a traffic stop. HPD body-worn camera video, released by Howard's civil attorney, Randall Kallinen, showed Vieira hitting Howard on the head with handcuffs. Afterward, he can be heard yelling at his partner to shoot Howard as he attempts to escape. Kallinen also said officers pulled Howard's pants down and let him sit in the street exposed for some time.

Kallinen, who settled a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Howard with the city of Houston, called the DA's office's missed deadline "a big oversight."

"It's very disappointing this officer slipped through the cracks and will not have any criminal charges," Kallinen said.

Vieira's attorney, J. Scott Siscoe, did not respond immediately to ABC13's request for comment but told the Chronicle his client would like to start the process to get his job back.

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