His dashboard camera should have been recording the entire traffic stop, but it was mysteriously cut off after the deputy approached a woman’s car on a dark roadway northeast of Houston.
That’s one reason that Harris County Precinct 3 Constable Ken Jones says he moved to fire the deputy when the woman came forward to say she was fondled during that lapse in the tape.
Deputy Christopher Kerr was told he was being fired, but he turned in resignation paperwork, according to Jones.
A woman was pulled over on Beltway 8 near John Ralston Road Friday night, and she was ordered out of the car and placed into handcuffs when a warrant surfaced for a broken tail light.
Constable Jones says his deputies are required to fill out formal reports anytime a person is placed in handcuffs, but when the woman came forward, there was no report on file. Jones says that added to his suspicions.
After she was handcuffed, she has reported to authorities that she was fondled and groped. Constable Jones says the area that was touched would never be touched during a routine arrest. He called the touching, “very improper contact” with the prisoner.
She was released with no charges.
“We are doing this by the numbers,” Jones said of his department’s investigation into the matter, which is now being forwarded to the Harris County District Attorney’s office for possible criminal charges.
Jones said Deputy Kerr’s dashboard video camera recorded a full minute before he stopped the woman on Friday, and it recorded him walking up to her car, but then the tape seems to have skipped over to the end of the encounter. The recording then shows a full minute after the woman drives away, according to Jones.
“It’s a deputy who was stupid,” said Jones.
The constable admits that Deputy Kerr had been rehired after being fired for misconduct in the past.
When asked to explain rehiring a problem officer, Jones said he sat in front of a “board” and spoke for one hour about why he should be rehired. Jones said, if it’s not a “major policy violation,” then rehiring a deputy is not so bad.
“I’ve had guys come back and make great officers,” said Jones.
But not this time.
Jones said, “I terminated him and he asked to resign in lieu of (that termination).” Jones said the paperwork that was sent to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (the state licensing agency for police), it reflected he resigned from his job.
If criminal charges end up being filed, it could affect Kerr being hired as a police officer anywhere else. But if no charges are filed, it will appear as though he resigned for unknown reasons.