Former West U Police Officer Pleas No Contest, Loses Peace Officer’s License
A former West U police officer, who was fired for fabricating police reports in September 2009, pled no contest to tampering charges on Wednesday.
Nelson Hernandez, 37, received two years deferred adjudication for pleading no contest to felony tampering charges. He must complete 150 hours of community service and surrendered his peace officer’s license.
Hernandez was fired Sept. 18, 2009 from the West U Police Department for tampering with a governmental record after he allegedly fabricated the reasons he pulled over two cars. Video footage from his in-car camera showed a different story than Hernandez allegedly wrote in his report, according to a complaint the police department filed with the Harris County District Court.
According to the criminal complaint, the first charge stems from a traffic stop on June 12, 2009 that resulted in an arrest because the driver had an invalid license. Hernandez allegedly wrote in his offense report that he pulled over a vehicle traveling eastbound in the 4200 block of Bissonnet St. for having a broken brake light. But when the police department reviewed Hernandez’s in-car video from that time, they saw his car was parked three blocks away at Northwestern Street and Bissonnet Street, facing westbound.
“The Defendant’s ability to observe a brake light violation of a vehicle traveling eastbound, or even to be able to observe the vehicle entirely in the 4200 block of Bissonnet from this location would not have been possible,” the complaint says. “This is due to the distance, street angles, direction of travel, and visual obstructions that exist in this particular area.”
The video went on to show the car passing by Hernandez’s parked patrol car, and the officer pulling it over in the 3800 block of Law Street in Houston’s city limits. Not in the 4200 block of Bissonnet Street in West U., as Hernandez allegedly wrote in the offense report.
“The defendant’s actions were done with the intent to defraud and harm another,” the criminal complaint said.
The second charge of tampering with a government document stems from a traffic stop on June 26. This driver was also arrested for driving with a suspended license. Hernandez’s report states he pulled a large truck over in the 5300 block of Sewanee Street. When the West U. Police Department reviewed Hernandez’s in-car video, they saw the officer first started following the truck on Bissonnet Street, and then turned onto Sewanee Street to pull it over. Hernandez allegedly reported the probable cause for the stop was a broken brake light.
“On three separate occasions during the recording, twice on Bissonnet and once on Sewanee, the vehicle’s brake lights were engaged with both brake lights showing to be in proper working order each time they were applied,” the criminal complaint said.
Hernandez was scheduled to go to trial on June 9 on eight felony charges, but seven of the charges were dropped because of his plea agreement.