District Attorney Kim Ogg frequently barks up an erroneous prosecutorial tree and seldom, if ever, initiates major investigations from her own office, faulty practices her opponent Mary Nan Huffman alleges on the campaign trail.
Huffman, the Republican challenger supported by the HPOU, has stepped up the case against incumbent Democrat Ogg also by asserting that Ogg tries to hold police officers charged with misdeeds such as excessive use of deadly force to a higher standard than the average Houston/Harris County resident.
Usually the DA uses evidence developed by HPD or other law enforcement agencies and relies on their investigations when handling cases involving officers.
Ogg’s resulting ineptitude has proven to harm the reputation of officers such as Shane Privatte, who was indicted in 2019 for excessive use of force largely since Ogg failed to present HPD’s Internal Affairs findings that cleared Privatte.
“If she had presented the grand jury with all of the evidence, such as Internal Affairs’ findings, Shane would have been no-billed,” Huffman stated. “She didn’t even tell HPOU attorneys they were taking the case to the grand jury.
“He had been 100 percent cleared.”
A second grand jury also heard the case and promptly no-billed Privatte in September 2019.
Yet Ogg takes advantage of the current anti-police atmosphere by stressing to constituents that she has indicted 33 police officers.
“She would lead you to believe that she started every investigation and nailed down every piece of evidence used by her prosecutors,” Huffman said. “That’s just not so. All the evidence in the Harding Street drug raid was developed internally by HPD. Ogg wants to take credit for it without any work of her own.”
The Harding Street incident remains a highly controversial courthouse issue. Recently a state district judge ruled Ogg had to turn over key documents being used in the case against former HPD narcotics supervisor Thomas Wood on charges of tampering and theft.
Documents used to develop charges against any defendant in a criminal case are routinely turned over to defense attorneys. That has not happened in this case, Huffman pointed out Aug. 28, one week after Judge Leslie Brock Yates’s ruling requires Ogg to turn over the documents.
Furthermore, the DA also is withholding evidence against three other former HPD officers implicated in the Harding Street controversy.
Huffman said, wearily, “And this is the policy of a district attorney who is running on the promise of transparency and progressive criminal justice? The law-abiding citizens of Harris County deserve better than this.”
Huffman, a member of the HPOU Legal Staff and former assistant district attorney in Montgomery County, suggested Ogg is trying her dead-level best to hold police officers to higher standards. She cited Ogg’s allegations that cell phone records showed that one particular HPD officer was lying about his location at a particular time while on the job.
The challenger pointed out that Ogg’s prosecutors, although working from home, have signed timesheets showing that they were working at 500 Jefferson, the temporary office location for Ogg and her assistants.
Huffman said, “Ogg wants to indict officers for allegedly falsifying a government document because a location (based on a cell signal) may have been inaccurate, but a county employee who intentionally puts the wrong address on a timesheet and then swears its true and correct – well, that’s totally acceptable. Why don’t we just treat all people the same? She’s harder on cops because it fits her narrative.”
Huffman said HPD officers and their family members will be able to pick up her yard signs at the Union offices beginning this week. She continues her “masked campaign appearances” in view of the coronavirus pandemic and expressed hope that the masking and distancing requirements would be relaxed as the Nov. 3 Election Day fast approaches.
The Nov. 3 Election Day fast approaches.