How Many Crimes Did These Cops Commit?

Monday, April 16th, 2012

I lost count about halfway through.

A Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy is accused of using his badge and gun to force a repo man to give him his wife’s truck back.

“I’m trying to make an honest living,” repo man Brenton Huff told KPRC Local 2 investigator Amy Davis. “I shouldn’t have to worry about being shot, especially by police.”

Huff was hired to repossess a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado from Tammy Berkley. The lender told him she was four months behind on her payments. Huff said he spotted the truck in Conroe on March 15. He followed it, ironically, to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department Auto Theft Task Force office. When the driver went in, Huff went to work.

“I just backed up to it, hooked up and pulled it down the street,” Huff explained.

The wrecker driver says he pulled into a parking lot at the jail to call the sheriff’s office and report the repossession, a routine procedure. Seconds after he drove away, Huff said three cars pulled up alongside him, boxing in his wrecker. The cars were unmarked, the men in civilian clothes, but Huff says they all had guns pointing right at him.

“I really thought I was gonna get shot right then,” Huff told Davis. “I had my hands up here on the window so they could see them. The officer was yelling at me. He said, ‘That’s my wife’s truck.’”

That officer was Keith Winford, a Montgomery County Sheriff’s detective, who Local 2 confirmed, is married to Tammy Berkley. Winford was accompanied by three to four other deputies.

“He just grabbed me out, slammed me up against the truck right here,” said Huff.

The deputies put Huff in handcuffs. He says Winford drove his tow truck back to the sheriff’s office. After holding him for about 15 minutes, he demanded the repo man release his wife’s truck.

“Once I unhooked it, he told me ‘Get out of here.’ And then he told me if he catches me in his driveway, he’s gonna shoot me,” Huff recounted.

Certainly the DA is on the case, right?

When we called the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, first Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant told Local 2 the Texas Rangers are investigating the incident . . .

Grant said it’s possible the detectives thought Huff was stealing the truck.

Riiiiiight. Because because if you’re a car thief, you naturally use a big honking conspicuous tow truck. And you target the cars parked in the lot next to the Sheriff’s Department Auto Theft Task Force.

It gets better.

A week after the interview with Grant, he said Winford and the other deputies are claiming that Huff put an illegal tracking device on the truck. Huff denies that allegation. The detectives say they gave it back to Huff, so they have no proof of the tracking device.

Awfully nice of them, wasn’t it? The guy puts an illegal tracking device on the truck that belongs to a cop’s wife, and when they find it, they just give it back to him. No arrest, no charges. I mean, the alternative is that they’re lying through their teeth to cover up for the fact that they acted like a bunch of thugs, broke about a dozen laws, and pointed their guns at a guy who just doing his job.

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32 Responses to “How Many Crimes Did These Cops Commit?”

  1. #1 |  Pi Guy | 

    Protect and Serve, Baby! Protect and Serve!

  2. #2 |  perlhaqr | 

    It’s cool, man, didn’t you know the new rule? If you’re a cop or married to a cop, you don’t have to make your car payments anymore.

  3. #3 |  Roho | 

    No crimes. They will look into the incident, and determine it just highlights a need for further officer training. Because, you know…previously, training didn’t *specifically* say that if you stop making your car payments, and your car is repossessed, you can’t beat up and threaten to shoot the repo man.

    These subtle nuances are hard to work out!

  4. #4 |  ShelbyC | 

    Even if they thought the truck was stolen, there was no justification for demanding that the truck get released after they figure out the situation (which they clearly did, since they didn’t impound the truck for evidence, or arrest Huff). Flat out robbery.

  5. #5 |  ShelbyC | 

    And “Illegal tracking device”? Since when is it illegal to put a tracking device on a truck you rightfully reposessed? The cops are complaining that their privacy was invaded because the truck they stole had a tracking device on it?

  6. #6 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    While I agree that the Cops have almost certainly broken a BUNCH of laws, and should therefore be in DEEP kimchee, I have read and heard enough horror stories about shady repo-men and Lincoln-Park-Pirate style tow truck operators that it’s hard to get really indignant.

  7. #7 |  Charlie O | 

    Cops are scum. All of them. I’ve been saying it for years. This story precisely exemplifies by beliefs. Cops believe they are privileged. They believe the rules don’t apply to them. They are the enforcers, they have carte blanche to do whatever they have to do to enforce said rules. But they don’t apply to them.

  8. #8 |  BamBam | 

    Q: How many crimes did these cops commit?
    A: Zero. To say otherwise implies they are accountable to the same laws as you and I, and we know that is not true. Your ignorance of the law is no excuse. Their ignorance is due to a lack of training and they were just following policy.

  9. #9 |  BamBam | 

    “The wrecker driver says he pulled into a parking lot at the jail to call the sheriff’s office and report the repossession, a routine procedure.”

    There should be a record of this phone call, if not the conversation then at least a call log from the repo man’s phone. This gives credibility to the repo man’s story. It also indicates how the deputy and his thug buddies knew the vehicle was being repoed and thus they were able to intercept repo man.

  10. #10 |  SJE | 

    The amusing result is that any one associated with this department should now find it harder to obtain loans, and that the loans will be at a higher rate.

  11. #11 |  omar | 

    I have read and heard enough horror stories about shady repo-men and Lincoln-Park-Pirate style tow truck operators that it’s hard to get really indignant.

    I think a useful analogy here is the first amendment and racist speech. Just because someone is very unpopular does not mean law enforcement should single them out for unlawful punishment. If you want the same protection, you have to stand up for the unpopular guy.

  12. #12 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    Yeah, I know. But it’s hard. It was hard to get up any enthusiasm for the scumbag Nazis who wanted to march through that Jewish neighborhood in Skokie, too.

    Sometimes History just brings together two bunches of creeps who richly deserve each-other. Like the Aztecs and the Conquistadores.

  13. #13 |  Marty | 

    we had a few kids in the police academy who wanted to rent a place from us- they were stunned when we told them we weren’t interested. I can’t imagine trying to evict or collect late rent…

  14. #14 |  plutosdad | 

    He should have shouted “If you shoot me, three more repo men will take my place!”

  15. #15 |  EH | 

    But it’s hard.

    Tough crap. Suck it up.

  16. #16 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The bad cop is corrupting all those good cops. How can they possibly refuse to help a brother out when pressured to assault a repo guy?

    Man, if cops will break their oaths for this…imagine if it were something that actually mattered.

  17. #17 |  Thom | 

    Based on this, it sounds like the auto-theft task force actually stole the vehicle.

    If cops are now of the attitude that they are exempt from having their cars repossessed, then banks and finance companies should no longer give them loans to buy vehicles.

  18. #18 |  Passing thru, may stick around. | 

    Obligatory Repo Man quote (along with plutosdad above):

    Bud: Tense situations, kid. You get into five or six of ’em a day, it don’t mean shit anymore. I mean, I’ve seen men stabbed, didn’t mean shit to me. I’ve seen guns, guns too, they don’t mean shit. But that’s when you gotta watch yourself.

  19. #19 |  marco73 | 

    To get 4 months behind on car payments, the deputy and his wife would have had to ignore piles of mail and weeks of phone calls. I wouldn’t be surprised if the deputy had his wife drive the car only between their house and the impound yard.
    So when the vehicle was finally towed, the deputy had to know it was a repo, ignoring any phone calls from the tow truck driver to the police dispatch.
    So the deputy and his wife (and possibly deputies or other sheriff employees) formed an ongoing criminal conspiracy to deprive the finance company of their property, then engaged in armed response to steal the property back from the finance company’s agent.
    If the Texas Rangers have any throw at all, the deputy and his wife should be serving long hitches in the state pen.

    I actually laughed out loud after I wrote that. The deputy will get a write up and maybe a 2 day paid suspension, and somehow the car in question will be quietly paid off. No other deputies will face any discipline at all.

  20. #20 |  dog's worst enemy | 

    Radley, you might be interested in this story; at least to add it to the growing list…

  21. #21 |  Real Brandon | 

    Obviously this means the deputy is criminally underpaid, and you don’t care about our brave public servants who all deserve raises.

  22. #22 |  picachu | 

    Again-every instance of police abuse can be traced back to this one thing-their insufferable arrogance and pride.

  23. #23 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Boyd the mistake you made in this argument is good cops there are no good cops. The police’s main function is to protect the government and their paychecks. What do you think is going to happen when TSHTF ? They sold their souls for thirty pieces of silver,they cannot their just rewards soon enough.

  24. #24 |  M in MOCO | 

    Standard practice in MOCO.

  25. #25 |  CB | 

    @#8 | BamBam:

    Don’t forget that they do it all “for the kids!”

  26. #26 |  Mykeru | 

    Luckily, the tow truck driver left his dog home that day.

  27. #27 |  Ken | 

    My fist thought was…..If this repo man would have called 911 right after those deputies left and reported a car jacking at gunpoint, I think it wouldn’t have been so easy to sweep under the rug by the attorney’s office.
    And my second thought…….I guess that old saying concerning women is true, It’s not who you know but who you b__w!

  28. #28 |  Axis Farmer | 

    Have any of you so called experts examined the facts? 1. Tow truck wrecker driver scum has not filed charges. 2.Repo records were not legit. 3. Deputy involved has a long history with SO. 4. This scum bag driver tried his case in the court of public opinion, not a court of law.

  29. #29 |  fnjewlawyer | 

    They committed MANY crimes, but several are subsumed as lesser included offenses of the first degree felony (5-99 yrs or life) of aggravated robbery:

    They committed theft by stealing the car, i.e. taking it from a person with a greater right of possession (the repo man) than they had. This theft was actually a robbery, because they effected the theft by committing an assault (placing repo man in fear of imminent use of physical force) in the process. Since that assault was committed by threatening him with a deadly weapon (firearms), it was actually an aggravated assault. Using a deadly weapon to furthers theft or robbery. Makes for the offense of aggravated robbery, with the aggravated assault, theft, and robbery offenses being lesser included offenses.

    Furthermore, when the officers unlawfully handcuffed the repo man, holding I’m against his will, they committed the offense of unlawful restraint, a misdemeanor. But because they used deadly weapons to effect the restraint, they ratcheted their offense up to a felony: Kidnapping. Because they committed the kidnapping in furtherance of a felony (aggravated robbery, above, or Unauthorized Use of a Motor vehicle, below), they committed aggravated kidnapping, another first-degree felony, unless the kidnapper voluntarily released him in a safe place, which takes it back down to a second-degree felony (2-20 years in prison).

    Finally, they committed the offense of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, which is our joyriding statute, and makes it a felony to use a motor vehicle without the effective consent of the owner (the bank).

  30. #30 |  Militant Libertarian » How Many Crimes Did These Cops Commit? | 

    […] Posted: April 24th, 2012 by Militant Libertarian from The Agitator […]

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