Criminal Justice

Houston Police Officer Indicted For Aggravated Assault After 2019 Arrest

Former HPD officer Lucas Vieira is now facing a felony charge of aggravated assault by a public servant after allegedly beating a man with handcuffs during a 2019 arrest.

Screenshot of video purportedly showing Houston police officer arresting Aundre Howard on July 7, 2019.

A former Houston police officer was indicted by a Harris County grand jury Friday over a 2019 incident in which the officer allegedly beat a man over the head with a pair of handcuffs during an arrest.

Lucas Vieira, 31, was indefinitely suspended in April, and is now facing a felony charge of aggravated assault by a public servant.

The indictment was confirmed by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office on Monday.

A short segment of body camera footage shows Vieira and HPD officer Thomas Serrano chase after Aundre Howard, 34, who allegedly ran from the officers after being pulled over and handcuffed during a traffic stop on the night of July 7, 2019.

During the 23-second body camera video, Vieira can be heard commanding Serrano to shoot Howard twice, and yelling “BOP BOP BOP BOP” as they ran.

After catching up with Howard, Viera can be seen beating Howard in the back of the head with what appears to be a set of handcuffs, before pulling Howard to the ground.

Howard filed a lawsuit in April against the officers, as well as the city of Houston and former HPD chief Art Acevedo. Vieira was later indefinitely suspended.

According to the lawsuit, Howard was handcuffed and excessively searched before the chase began. Once apprehended, officers allegedly slammed Howard onto the hood of a squad car, and pulled his pants down, revealing that Howard had defected himself during the incident out of fear, according to court documents.

The suit says Vieira had allegedly bragged about what he had done when more officers arrived on the scene.

In a statement, Howard’s attorney Randall Kallinen, who had released the edited body camera video in November 2020, said the full video would be presented under seal in court due to the sensitive nature of its contents.

“This is indicative of the culture at HPD which former Chief Art Acevedo perpetuated,” Kallinen said. “Even more disturbing is the complete openness of Officer Vieira to speak about the excessive force and obvious illegal search of Aundre on body camera video to other HPD officers and there is no report to IAD.”

A spokesperson for the Harris County DA’s Office said a grand jury had determined that criminal charges for officer Serrano were not warranted.

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