Records show misconduct in MPD officer's past - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Records show misconduct in MPD officer's past

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Shooting at moving vehicles, simple assault and carelessly using a weapon are some of the misconduct cases listed in Memphis Police Officer Kimberly Houston's personnel record.

She's the officer who may have recently used excessive force on shoplifting suspect George Golden on March 27 after he was shot by Officer Leon Dickson. Mr. Golden, 42, died April 5.

Officer Dickson has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Houston is the off-duty officer who may have used excessive force. She was working security at the Austin Peay Walmart when Mr. Golden shoplifted.

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An affidavit says Officer Houston tried to detain Mr. Golden, then he punched her in the face and fought with all three officers in the Walmart parking lot. Moments later Officer Dickson shot Mr. Golden and Officer Houston kicked him while he was on the ground.

Records show Officer Houston's former last name is Woodard, and she joined the force back in 1998. Since then, some of her actions during tense situations resulted in reprimands.

Houston is under internal questioning for the March 27 shoplifting incident, Police Director Toney Armstrong said.

Personnel records show Houston has received three suspensions, including using deadly force on a moving vehicle.  After a police chase, Houston's partner shot at a vehicle which accelerated toward him. According to internal documents, Houston fired three shots as the van sped off.

Houston said the van moved toward her, but police say her shots indicate the van was moving away from her. Despite her statement that someone shot her partner, police pointed out she never checked on his well-being. In fact, her partner said no shots were fired from the van. When the hearing officer asked, "What would have happened if she had hit the driver with one of her rounds, especially since she Stated that the van was coming towards her?," she had no response. Houston received a five day suspension.

Fewer than two years later, Houston received a one day suspension for careless handling of firearms. While clearing a scene, she attempted to unload a suspect's weapon. But instead, she fired a shot and the bullet struck a wall.  Although Houston said she received training in the academy on unloading the .22 caliber Derringer, Houston admitted she was not familiar with it.

During a hearing weeks later, Houston said the weapon had possibly been modified since she followed the academy's instructions. During the hearing, she said she also felt uncomfortable in the room alone with two suspects, even though they were handcuffed.  

In Mr. Golden's case, he was handcuffed, shot and on the ground when Houston kicked him. As for the cause of death, it has not been released.

In each of those suspensions, Officer Houston also received additional firearms training. She also received a one day suspension in a separate matter, after she violated personal conduct policy and became involved in a fight in 2010. No serious injuries were reported in the 2010 fight.

As for the shoplifting case, no action has been taken on Houston. She's currently assigned to Old Allen Station.

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