Monday, August 29, 2016

Northside ISD Police Chief May Face Charges for Ignoring Racial Profiling Reports

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 7:00 AM

click image This is a screengrab from a Northside ISD pamphlet that explains what the police force does to parents. In it, the PD says they do make traffic stops and issue tickets. The department's chief could face criminal charges for telling a state organization that monitors police departments that his officers do not make routine traffic stops when an investigation found the opposite. - NORTHSIDE ISD
  • Northside ISD
  • This is a screengrab from a Northside ISD pamphlet that explains what the police force does to parents. In it, the PD says they do make traffic stops and issue tickets. The department's chief could face criminal charges for telling a state organization that monitors police departments that his officers do not make routine traffic stops when an investigation found the opposite.
A state organization that monitors police organizations has accused Northside ISD's police chief of ignoring racial profiling requirements and tampering with government records.

As first reported by KENS 5 Friday, a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) investigation found that Northside ISD Police Chief Charles Carnes ignored racial profiling reporting requirements for traffic stops and claimed that the district police force was exempt from such requirements, even after a TCOLE investigator told him in 2013 that was not the case. The investigative report shows that TCOLE has recommended a 90-day suspension of Carnes' peace officer license and that criminal charges for tampering with government records be filed against him. 

Law enforcement agencies that don't have video or audio equipment installed in police vehicles that routinely conduct traffic stops are required to report the race of people they pull over for each encounter and the percentage of stops per race to TCOLE annually. Officials use the reports to make sure that police officers are not targeting people based on their race.

TCOLE Spokeswoman Gretchen Grigsby sent us a copy of the investigative file, but said she couldn't provide any further comment because the criminal investigation is ongoing. The report is pretty damning for Carnes. It showed that in 2013, an investigator with the agency plainly laid out to him in an email and phone call that since the department's patrol cars don't have video or audio recording equipment, and since officers routinely conduct traffic stops, state law requires Northside ISD to fill out racial profiling reports. Yet, for three years, Carnes ignored the directive, the TCOLE investigation found. Carnes told the investigators that he remembered the phone call, but not the email.

Carnes initially told the TCOLE investigators that his department did not conduct routine traffic stops, which is why the department was not filling out racial profiling reports. However, the investigator learned that was not the case. Between 2012 and 2015, the department issued 1,164 tickets. In paperwork Carnes signed that was filed with TCOLE, he declared that his department didn't conduct routine traffic stops. Because of this, he may face charges of tampering with governmental records.

In a statement, Northside ISD spokesman Pascual Gonzalez expressed frustration with TCOLE for releasing a copy of the investigative report. "NISD nor its Chief of Police is in receipt of any investigative report from TCOLE and therefore commenting on it would be inappropriate," Gonzalez said. "However, it is highly irresponsible that TCOLE released this case information to a reporter without advising the school district first." The television station first obtained it via an Attorney Generals order. 

Furthermore, Gonzalez alleges that the report is flawed. "The entire report is predicated on an email which does not exist in our receipt," Gonzalez said. "The email from 2013 alleged to have been sent to NISD never arrived in NISD because the email was sent to nish.net not nisd.net We have asked that the case be reconsidered." The discrepancy Gonzalez alleges exists is not mentioned anywhere in the 21-page investigative report and at no time during his interrogation did Carnes bring it up.

That email, which TCOLE says absolutely exists, was important to the investigation. "I told Chief Carnes the biggest issue I have with him is the email. I told Chief Carnes that it was very clear that he was told how to report his racial profiling and that it stated he would be required to do full reporting and then for the next three years he didn't," the investigator wrote. "I told Chief Carnes that concerns me." The investigation was the result of four complaints against Carnes.

Carnes told the investigator that there was no malice or ill intent, he just didn't remember the email and thought the district police force was in compliance. "If you want my attention you've got my 110% attention," Carnes told the investigators. "I'm sitting here saying I'll do anything we need to do within the law of course, of correcting the wrong."

The investigator told him the case will be passed along to the Bexar County District Attorney's Office.


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