The Houston Police Officers Union wants prosecutor John Denholm fired over a case in which the union alleges he refused to file a sex assault charge because he suspected the victim was an illegal immigrant, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office did not confirm or deny the alleged statements from Denholm in the case but announced Wednesday that he had been reassigned.
“Our policy is for prosecutors to consider only relevant information when determining whether criminal charges are warranted,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “It is improper for them to consider such matters as immigration status, race, gender or orientation.”
Denholm did not respond to a request from the newspaper for comment. David Cuevas, president of the Harris County Deputies Organization, said the prosecutor has been difficult to work with.
“He historically has been challenging to law enforcement and refuses to accept solid charges,” Cuevas told the Chronicle. “It’s appalling and he should be fired immediately.”
Denholm worked for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for more than 20 years before moving to the DA’s office.
Last week, 44-year-old Karl Bonner, being booked for drunk driving charges at the Joint Processing Center, allegedly pulled out his penis and tried to force the head of another arrestee toward it. When an officer called the district attorney’s office to ask about filing a third-degree felony attempted sexual assault charge against Bonner, Denholm asked if the victim was “illegal,” the newspaper reported.
The police union says that Denholm asked if the victim had a driver’s license. Upon learning that the officer only found a Mexican consular ID card, Denholm allegedly said he would not touch the case.
The sexual assault charges were later filed after other prosecutors reviewed the case, the Chronicle reported.