Drive-by Taser incident caught on video: This is why 2 Willis officers are convicted felons
Just north of Conroe, in Willis, Montgomery County is a small town with a country feel.
On July 29, 2017, Kedric Kizzie was visiting his family and there was a heated argument. It quickly spiraled out of control. So much so, two of the three officers that responded to the disturbance call are now convicted felons serving time behind bars.
Authorities said officers Kenneth Elmore and John McCaffery wrongfully used a stun gun to shock Kizzie, charged Kizzie with a crime he didn't commit and then lied to cover up their illegal conduct. The entire incident was recorded on video, but Elmore and McCaffery lied to the district attorney's office, and also on the arrest, incident and use of force reports.
But does the problem go beyond Elmore and McCaffery?
Channel 2 Investigates Joel Eisenbaum traveled to Willis to learn more about this case and this small town.
Eisenbaum asked, "What about the cops up here?" And Kizzie's relative said: "(Expletive) em all. They're (expletive).
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon prosecuted the case himself.
"I'm the son of a police officer," said Ligon. He added, "I know a good police officer when I see them, but I also know a bad police officer when I see them."
"Run your mouth now (expletive)! Now what are you going to say? Who caught you? Whose prongs are in your (expletive) back? Who caught you (expletive), running your (expletive) mouth!," McCaffery can be heard saying on his body camera video.
That profanity-laced tirade directed at 20-year-old Kizzie was not what got McCaffrey convicted of a felony. What really hung him up was lying about what the chain of events was before this.
What was the biggest lie? Eisenbaum asked.
"That they told [Kizzie] multiple times to comply," Ligon said.
The Police Reports
Police reports signed by both McCaffrey and Elmore paint a picture of a man who knew he was under arrest and decided to run.
But the body camera video showed a different story.
"Nobody's going to chase you! We want you to leave," McCaffrey said to Kizzie on the body camera video.
Kizzie replied, "Not even if you tried to, you know that right."
There's no question Kizzie taunts the officers, but importantly, at no point do the officers tell him he's under arrest. In fact, they told him the opposite.
"So I seen them huddle up, I don't know what they said. They got back in their cars. I thought they had another call," Kizzie recalls about the events that day.
The Drive-by Tasing
"Drive-by tasing? We don't have to chase him." McCaffery is heard saying on the body camera video.
"Can we do that? Is that possible?" said Officer Justin Reeves, the third officer on the scene that day.
"Yeah, I'm not going to chase him on foot. I don't need to chase him. My car will chase him though," replied McCaffery. He added, "Go pick him up, he's pissing me off, now."
Suddenly the chase is on and Kizzie says he's convinced the officers are out to kill him.
"I start running cause I feared for my life," Kizzie told Channel 2 Investigates. He added, "I just seen my life flash before my eyes."
It was a planned drive-by tasing. It targeted a man who was never told he was under arrest and had a legal right to be on the street.
"I have never heard that term (drive-by tasing) before. But it came out of their mouth so easy it left no doubt in my mind or the jury's mind that not only was this an expression that had been used before but in likelihood was a common practice," Ligon said.
"I like it. Passenger side," Elmore is heard saying on the body camera video.
Both McCaffery and Elmore were just convicted of tampering with a government record, for falsifying police reports about the incident. They were sentenced to a year behind bars and cannot be police officers again in Texas.
The criminal case against Kizzie was dropped.
Kizzie is now suing the city and the officers in federal court, claiming they violated his civil rights.
The Police Chief's Response
Channel 2 Investigates still had questions for Willis Police Chief James Nowak.
He told us via email he's not ready to talk about the incident because of the pending litigation.
However, Nowak testified his officers did nothing criminal, did not violate policy, and he's declined an opportunity to partner with the district attorney to examine department protocol.
"I believe there would have been an opportunity to increase the professionalism. There would have been opportunity to address some clear training issues that I have not presented the opportunity to do," said Ligon.
As for Kizzie, he no longer lives in Willis.
"I'm frightened to come down here," Kizzie said.
The third officer involved in Kizzie's arrest was not charged with a crime and remains on duty.
A detailed timeline
7-29-17 – Illegal Arrest and Tasing of Kedric Kizzie
7-29-17 – Arrest Record submitted by Kenneth Elmore
8-1-17 – Compliant and Information was filed in Evading case against Kedric Kizzie
8-2-17 – Willis PD Incident Report submitted to DA Intake
8-30-17 – Arraignment for Kedric Kizzie
9-18-17 – Pre-Trial Hearing for Kedric Kizzie / Defense Attorney Appointed
10-9-17 – Pre-Trial Hearing for Kedric Kizzie
10-18-17 – Media from Willis PD was received by DA Intake
10-30-17 – Pre-Trial Hearing for Kedric Kizzie
11-6-17 – Media was logged into Odyssey and available to ADA
12-7-17 – Plea Acceptance / Trial Determination Docket for Kedric Kizzie
12-27-17 – Discovery was filed by the State
12-29-17 – ADA Pekkala reviewed video and brought it to the attention of ADA Teissier
12-29-17 – ADA Teissier delivered file to DA Public Integrity
12-29-17 – Dismissal was signed by Judge in Evading Case
1-3-18 – ADA Sanford, ADA Litaker, Inv. Hollifield met with Chief Nowak at Willis PD and told him about the investigation
1-8-18 – Internal Affairs Rooney request 911 for IA Investigation
1-9-18 – Internal Affairs Memo from Rooney to Chief Nowak – No Policy Violations – IA concluded
1-4-18 – Records received from Chief Nowak
1-8-18 – Chief Nowak provided further information about investigation
1-10-18 – Chief Nowak provided further information about investigation
1-11-18 - Chief Nowak provided further information about investigation
2-8-18 – Chief Nowak emailed ADA Sanford asking how much longer for investigation
3-22-18 – Target Letter sent to Chief Nowak from ADA Sanford about investigation
3-23-18 – Target Letters and GJ Subpoenas were delivered to Reeves and McCaffery
3-23-18 – Email from Chief Nowak stating he told McCaffery and Elmore about investigation
3-27-18 - Defense Attorney declined Grand Jury
4-26-18 – Email to Chief Nowak from 1st Asst. Holley about Elmore and McCaffery ‘s employment
4-26-18 – Email from Chief Nowak about Elmore and McCaffery's employment
5-3-18 – Lt. Nelson provided further information about investigation
5-7-18 – Meeting with DA Ligon, ADA Sanford, Sgt. Rooney and Chief Nowak
5-8-18 – Chief Nowak suspended Elmore and McCaffery without pay
5-9-18 – GJ subpoenas served in Case to Defendants via Defense Attorney Paul Aman
5-10-18 – McCaffery and Elmore testified in GJ
5-24-18 – Texas Ranger Leitner was assigned to investigate the case
5-25-18 – Elmore and McCaffery are fired and there are IA findings of policy violations
6-26-18 - Chief Nowak provided further information about investigation
6-28-18 – Elmore and McCaffery were Indicted for Tampering and Official Oppression
7-30-19 – Elmore and McCaffery's Indictments were Amended
8-5-19 – Tampering with Gov't Record Trial began for Elmore and McCaffery
8-9-19 – Elmore and McCaffery were convicted and sentenced to 1 year MCJ
Information from the Montgomery County District Attorney.
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