'He was committing gross misconduct,' Attorneys for HPD sergeant's accused killer want officer's records

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The attorneys for the man charged with murdering Houston police Sgt. Sean Rios are asking a judge to compel the state to turn over the fallen officer's personnel records, even the ones that are considered private.

Robert Soliz, 24, is charged with murder. He also has two unrelated aggravated assault with deadly weapon cases pending.

SEE ALSO: Man accused of killing HPD sergeant released on $750K bond

In court Tuesday, Soliz's attorneys argued they should be provided all of Rios' records kept by the city. Only complaints that have been sustained against officers are made public. Attorney Clay Conrad said he needed both sustained and unsustained complaints in order to defend his client.

"It's our constitutional obligation to uncover every stone of this officer's misconduct," Conrad told the court.

The State did not object, but has requested that the court issue a protective order to keep those records from being made public.

Attorneys for Soliz have outlined their defense, saying Rios was the aggressor in a road rage incident last November that led to a shootout along the North Freeway feeder road and the officer's death. Soliz claims he did not know Rios was a police officer and that he shot him in self-defense. Conrad also alleged Rios was a bad cop, though he provided no proof.

SEE ALSO: Suspect in HPD sergeant's murder acted in self-defense, relative says

"We believe the reason Sean Rios is dead today is because HPD was unwilling to discipline him appropriately on all the other occasions when he stepped out of bounds," said Conrad after the hearing. "We believe he stepped out of bounds here."

In response, an HPD spokeswoman told ABC13, "Per policy, we don't comment on ongoing court cases."

Houston Police Officers Union President Doug Griffith said the rhetoric is just a strategy.

"This is nothing more than a deflection from his client, who murdered Sean Rios. We have to remember if he was so innocent, why did he leave the scene? Why did he flee?" Griffith asked.

Soliz was arrested the day after the deadly shooting.

Besides the pending cases, Soliz has a criminal history, which includes a misdemeanor weapon conviction and threatening his girlfriend.

SEE ALSO: Man accused of killing HPD sergeant part of 'The Sauce Factory' gang, court records say

Rios was a 25-year HPD veteran with four children.

"They can look at his past all they want, as long as they look at Mr. Soliz's past," added Griffith. "Because I think we're going to find one was a productive member of society, while the other wasn't."

The judge said she would review Rios' internal records and then rule on what will be turned over and whether she will issue a protective order.

Soliz's next court date is set for May. He made bond last week after being jailed since his November arrest.

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