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Officers’ OWN bodycams catch them picking a lock, violently arresting suspect in second scandal

Criminal charges stemming from at least six incidents have led to the resignation, suspension and termination of five Llano, Texas police officers, including the chief, in the past year; Former officer Mark Burke (shown) is the latest officer to be indicted

Another scandal has added two more law enforcement officials to the list of those charged with abuses of power in Llano, Texas, facing combined charges that include official oppression, evidence tampering, assaulting arrestees and deleting body camera video.

A grand jury indicted Sheriff’s deputy Duncan Roberts and Llano Police Officer Mark Burke on August 13, who now both face three counts of official oppression.

They were seen on Roberts’ bodycam on June 9, attempting to pick the lock of a residence without a search warrant to back it up, then kicking in the door and violently arresting the man inside. 

In total, criminal charges stemming from at least six incidents have led to the resignation, suspension and termination of five Llano city police officers, including the police chief, in the past nine months.

One Lllano County Sheriff’s Deputy has been reassigned pending the results of his criminal trial. 

An improper arrest of a man in May 2017 led to the July conviction of former Police Chief Kevin Ratliff, and the indictment of three other officers.

At least one of those officers, Grant Harden, has been indicted on abuse of powers charges stemming from multiple incidents, dating back to at least December. 

With regard to the latest round of indictments, Burke and Llano County Sheriff's deputy Duncan Roberts (pictured) arrived at a residence in response to a 911 call reporting domestic violence.

With regard to the latest round of indictments, Burke and Llano County Sheriff’s deputy Duncan Roberts (pictured) arrived at a residence in response to a 911 call reporting domestic violence.

With regard to the latest round of indictments, Burke and Roberts arrived at a residence in response to a 911 call reporting domestic violence.  

Body camera video then showed Burke attempting to pick an exterior door lock for about two minutes, before homeowner Clay Holley comes to the door.  

It appears the officers and Holley go back and forth about he’ll open the door for about two minutes, before Roberts kicked it in and violently arrested him.

Body camera video then showed Burke attempting to pick an exterior door lock for about two minutes, before homeowner Clay Holley comes to the door.

Body camera video then showed Burke attempting to pick an exterior door lock for about two minutes, before homeowner Clay Holley comes to the door.

It appears the officers and Holley go back and forth about he'll open the door for about two minutes, before Roberts kicked it in and violently arrested him

It appears the officers and Holley go back and forth about he’ll open the door for about two minutes, before Roberts kicked it in and violently arrested him

Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn turned the video and case over to the county District Attorney, which led to indictments of deputy Roberts and officer Burke on charges of unlawful arrest, criminal trespass, and damaging property 

Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn turned the video and case over to the county District Attorney, which led to indictments of deputy Roberts and officer Burke on charges of unlawful arrest, criminal trespass, and damaging property 

Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn turned the video and case over to the county District Attorney, which led to indictments of deputy Roberts and officer Burke on charges of unlawful arrest, criminal trespass, and damaging property.

Sheriff Blackburn took Roberts’ authority away following the indictment, and placed him on duty in the jail.

‘He’s just a really good man,’ Blackburn said. ‘He may have made a mistake, I can’t say one way or the other. That’s for a jury to decide now. 

Burke is one of five in city’s police force indicted on multiple charges of abuse of power over the last nine months. 

Former Chief Ratliff was convicted in July on three separate charges related to the improper arrest of Cory Nutt, on May 2, 2017.

Nutt was arrested for being drunk in public despite being inside his home. That charge was later thrown out, and officers Aimee Shannon, Jared Latta and Grant Harden were charged with official oppression stemming from that improper arrest.

Ratliff and Harden were also charged with tampering with the police report.

Harden has indictments outstanding related to four other incidents, including allegedly tampering with video footage twice (from a DWI stop and a separate arrest), using excessive force against a woman who he is accused of unlawfully arresting, and allegedly assaulting another woman prosecutors said he ‘unlawfully’ charged with resisting arrest on April 26, 2016. 

Former Llano Police Chief Kevin Ratliff (shown) was convicted in July on three separate charges related to the improper arrest of Cory Nutt, on May 2, 2017

Former Officer Grant Harden (pictured) was charged with official oppression stemming from the improper arrest of Cory Nutt on May 2, 2017

Former Llano Police Chief Kevin Ratliff (left) was convicted in July on three separate charges related to the improper arrest of Cory Nutt, on May 2, 2017; Former Officer Grant Harden (right) was charged with official oppression stemming from that improper arrest

Officers Aimee Shannon (pictured) and Jared Latta have been suspended, and were also charged with official oppression stemming from the improper arrest of Nutt in May 2017

Officers Aimee Shannon and Jared Latta (pictured) have been suspended, and were also charged with official oppression stemming from the improper arrest of Nutt in May 2017

Officers Aimee Shannon (left) and Jared Latta (right) have been suspended, and were also charged with official oppression stemming from the improper arrest of Nutt in May 2017

Llano City Manager has hired an interim police chief as the city works to fill the vacancies that have resulted from these scandals, but hasn’t said much else as its investigation into possible police corruption remains underway.

Attorney Austin Kaplan, who represented the man whose May 2017 arrest was thrown out, viewed the footage of Burke and Roberts attempting to pick the lock and kicking in the door.

‘I’ve never seen anything like this. Here, there’s no permission to enter, there’s no warrant, and the police are on video breaking in to someone’s house. And they can’t do it,’ he said.

‘Everyone should feel a little chill down their spine watching that, that the police are gonna break into your house next, and that there won’t be any consequences for it.  

Employment and conviction status of Llano, Texas law enforcement officers indicted on charges

Terminated, convicted:

Former Police Chief Kevin Ratliff

Terminated, awaiting trial:

Former Police Officer Grant Harden 

Resigned, awaiting trial:  

Former Police Officer Mark Burke

Suspended, awaiting trial: 

Police Officer Aimee Shannon

Police Officer Jared Latta 

Reassigned, awaiting trial:

Sheriff’s Deputy Duncan Roberts 

Kaplan said his client may file a federal lawsuit against the city.

Ratliff, although convicted, has maintained he was within his authority. 

‘When it’s all said and done, I have a lot to tell,’ Ratliff said. ‘There’s caselaw that justifies what we did.’ 

Ratliff was sentenced to one year of probation for his role in the May 2017 arrest. His attorneys plan to appeal his conviction.

The other officers have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

Travis Williamson, attorney for Harden, told KXAN:

‘The cases that were indicted recently in Llano County involve complicated constitutional and legal principles that lawyers, judges and constitutional scholars cannot even agree on.’

He added: ‘When you start prosecuting police officers for official oppression based on gray or unsettled areas of law, they are not taught that law in the academy or subsequent training, or there are no policies or procedures available you are soon going to run into a situation where officers will hesitate to act. This will result in an innocent victim or officer being seriously injured or worse.’

To date, former Chief Ratliff and officer Harden have been terminated, Burke has resigned, and Shannon and Latta are suspended.

Deputy Roberts is currently reassigned.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk