By Ted Oberg
HOUSTON (KTRK) — Three Houston police officers are under investigation after claims they got high while on duty. And the claim, made by a man accused of drug possession, are backed up with something undeniable — the words of the officers themselves. It sort of jumps off the page.
“‘So high’ spaced out: h i g h” defense attorney Daniel Cahill said.
The words of a Houston police officer about an hour after arresting Nicholas Hill for marijuana possession.
“It was actually about 10 or 11 at night,” Hill said.
Hill was at his Atascocita apartment with friends late one night in May when cops came after someone smelled drugs. On search of the apartment, they allegedly found pot and stumbled on some brownies.
“The other cop came into the bedroom with a tray of brownies and immediately assumed that there was pot or something in it by asking, ‘Let me guess what’s in this,’” Hill said.
They were not the brownies your mom made, and Hill tells us – and told his lawyers – the cops ate them.
“Sometimes you’re told some pretty tall tales,” Cahill said.
But Cahill and J Julio Vela, Hill’s lawyers, started investigating.
If it were just the word of a 19-year-old accused of drug possession against the integrity of three Houston police officers, there wouldn’t be much for lawyers to defend or for us to report.
But it’s not just his word.
After allegedly eating the pot brownies and arresting Hill and two others, the officers went downstairs to their patrol car and started typing on their in-car computers.
The city saves all those and we have them:
At 2:44 in the morning one officer — we aren’t naming them — writes the other, “So HIGH…Good munchies”
The other writes back, “Everything should be open when we get done.”
First officer: “Two hours, max.”
“Probably, but this will take the whole shift.”
“If they actually are true, then we’re talking about is destruction of evidence. That’s a felony. We’re talking about official misconduct. We’re potentially talking about police offices driving around the city of Houston high on drugs, conducting official police business while high on drugs. It’s a pretty big deal,” Cahill said.
The head of the internal affairs division knew about this before we called and told us it’s considered a big deal inside the department. The officers involved are still on the job but will be drug tested and investigated.
Who knows what will show up four months after the fact but Executive Assistant Chief Mike Dirden admits, incidents like this can put “the integrity of the department at risk.”
“Obviously, they thought we were oblivious to it,” Hill said.
As for the drug possession case against the young man, it still stands — for now. The DA’s office tells us they’re waiting for results of the internal affairs investigation before it does anything.
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