The scope of the investigation is widening in an alleged traffic ticket writing scheme involving four Houston police officers.
Officers Rudolph Farias, Robert Manzanales, John Garcia and Gregory Rosa were relieved of duty Tuesday afternoon pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation into allegations of criminal activity.
Farias, a 21-year veteran of the force, committed suicide by shooting himself. The veteran traffic enforcement officer's body was discovered Tuesday afternoon in his patrol car in a parking garage near the municipal court building.
The four officers were allegedly working together by listing each other as witnessing officers on traffic citations. Internal affairs investigators are now looking at the devices the officers used to issue electronic traffic citations to see if they were working correctly.
"I can't assume there's an irregularity. I can't assume the officers falsified a government document. I can't assume anything until I have proof or evidence," said Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland.
If a traffic enforcement officer writes a ticket and puts the name of a second officer who is witnessing that ticket, Local 2 has learned the second officer's name will stay in the device and show up as a witness on future tickets, unless the first officer deletes it.
"I don't know what the electronic device is capable of. I don't know whether the AVL was functioning properly that day," McClelland said.
McClelland says if you have concerns about a traffic ticket and want to contest it in court, you can subpoena any records that may help your case from the police department and take that evidence to court and present it to a judge and jury.