By JR on Friday, July 01, 2011
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.
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.
Horne, who grew up in South Dallas, was featured in November 2003 in The Dallas Morning News in a series of stories about the department’s questionable hiring practices.
The department rejected Horne the first time he applied in 2001. He failed the civil service exam. A three-officer screening board deemed him “unable to logically process information,” according to department records.
He reapplied, and the department hired him in December 2002. He was fired in October 2003 after the department discovered his license had been suspended for eight months for not having auto insurance. As a probationary officer, he had no right of appeal.
In January 2004, then-interim Police Chief Randy Hampton reinstated Horne after he told Hampton that he had never received notice that his license had been suspended. He also showed Hampton evidence that he had always had insurance. “Some people had been saying I was a bad officer, and I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m going to go back and do my job,” Horne told The News at the time.
Between 2005 and 2007, Horne was disciplined three times for missing court. In December 2008, he received a 20-day suspension after internal investigators said he had had turned in fake doctor’s notes.
When confronted, Horne admitted they were fake and said he made a mistake because he panicked. “I apologize to the department … for my conduct in making a very bad decision,” Horne wrote to police investigators. “I can promise and assure you this will not happen again.”
Around that same time, Horne also fell under scrutiny after vice detectives believed he had tipped off club employees about an impending raid. Horne denied having tipped anybody off and said he was not aware of the upcoming raid. Internal affairs investigators ultimately couldn’t prove that Horne had tipped anybody off.
Lavar Horne is black