A Dallas police officer with a troubled disciplinary history was arrested Wednesday and accused of stealing a gun from a motorist, authorities say.
Officer Lavar Horne faces a charge of theft by a public servant and tampering with evidence. Both are third-degree felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.Some of the best police beat coverage in the state happens behind the paywall at the Dallas News, mainly for two reasons: 1) They've got a great stable of experienced reporters, including Tanya Eiserer who wrote this piece, and 2) Dallas never opted into the state civil service code (Local Government Code Chapter 143), so reporters have far greater access to police records under the Public Information Act, especially records about police misconduct allegations, which would be secret in civil-service cities like Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Plano, or any of the other 70 or so cities opted into Chapter 143.
Police Chief David Brown fired Horne and two other officers Wednesday during disciplinary hearings. One officer fought with a hospital employee and wrote about it on Facebook, and the other fought with the owner and a bouncer at a Greenville bar, police officials said.
With these firings, 24 officers have been terminated through the department’s internal affairs disciplinary process since Brown assumed command of the department more than a year ago.
Brown did not respond to a request for comment. Horne’s attorney declined to comment.
Authorities say Horne conducted a traffic stop on April 28 during which he searched a vehicle and seized a handgun and marijuana. He allowed the occupants of the vehicle to leave without arresting them.
Horne, who was assigned to northeast patrol at the time, did not take the gun and the marijuana to the property room at the end of his shift as required, police officials said. Later, a man in the vehicle contacted a supervisor at Horne’s patrol station and told them that Horne had taken the gun.
Horne told the supervisor that he didn’t have the gun but later told police commanders that he had forgotten he had it in his bag. He told investigators that he threw the marijuana away, police said.
Investigators also found that he turned off his digital video recorder during the traffic stop. They also discovered that he had turned off his in-car computer and didn’t notify police dispatchers that he’d stopped a vehicle.
El Paso is the second largest city after Dallas which never opted into the civil service code. In practice, that makes those two police agencies open records oases compared to most other large to mid-size police departments in the state.