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Former HPD officers indicted in ticket scandal

HOUSTON – Three former Houston police officers were indicted on felony charges Friday by a Harris County grand jury. The charges stem from an investigation into allegations the officers were falsifying traffic tickets in a bid to gain overtime pay.

Specifically, the officers are accused of listing their fellow officers as witnesses during traffic stops when the officers were not actually present when the violation occurred. Being listed as a witnessing officer on a traffic citation means that officer could be called to testify in municipal court and would therefore earn overtime.

Gregory Rosa, John Garcia and Robert Manzanales are charged with tampering with a government document. Manzanales is also charged with aggravated perjury. Manzanales retired from HPD, while Rosa and Garcia resigned before they were terminated.

A fourth officer, Rudolph Farias III, was also facing scrutiny. Farias shot and killed himself in his patrol car at the downtown police station on Aug. 19 -- the same day he learned he was under internal affairs investigation.

"The grand jury thoroughly reviewed all the facts in this investigation that led to today's indictments of three former HPD officers," Chief Charles McClelland wrote in a statement to Local 2 Investigates. "I strongly agree with and respect the grand jury's decision."

Prosecutors and McClelland said scores of tickets written by these officers were dismissed. An exact number has not yet been released.