Houston-area constable claims he was racially profiled during a traffic stop while in uniform

A Houston area constable said he was racially profiled, as part of a recent traffic stop. Waller County Precinct 3 Constable Herschel Smith, who is Black, said he found himself in handcuffs after he was pulled over in Harris County on Tuesday night.

“I know I was racially profiled,” Smith said.

Smith said he was driving his unmarked unit on Beltway 8 with exempt plates and wearing his uniform when he was approached by deputies from Harris County Precinct 5.

“A white man saw me on the road after I flashed my light and passed him,” Smith said. “Then he, in return, called in on me and said that I pointed a gun at him.”

Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap said his deputies were responding to a 911 caller who provided Smith's license plate and description of his vehicle.

“We handled this just as we would handle any other individual and I do not see anything so far from any of the body cameras that would bring me any concern,” Heap said.

In the call, the man said he thought he was being pulled over by the police.

“He pulled up next to me and he pointed a gun at me, was like yelling stuff at me and drove off,” the caller said.

“The suspect’s race was never mentioned so our officers have no idea of who they’re stopping as far as the race of the individual,” Heap said. “They have a vehicle and a license plate.”

Smith said he was stopped in a vicious way.

“It wasn’t just a regular stop, it was a felon stop,” Smith said. “They ignored my badge. They ignored my uniform. They ignored my name. It said, Constable.”

Heap said when his deputies ran the license plate, it came back as registered to a holdings company, not the county, so they did not know it was a law enforcement vehicle. Heap said he is ok with releasing body camera footage but is waiting on guidance from Texas Rangers, who will now investigate the case.