DALLAS – Dallas police officer accused of fabricating evidence — This story will be updated throughout the day Tuesday as new information comes in.
Dallas police have issued a warrant for a Dallas police officer accused of fabricating physical evidence. Five others were placed on administrative leave after the department uncovered video of an illegal search. A warrant was issued Tuesday morning for officer Jacob Hughes, badge no. 11160. He is accused of fabricating physical evidence. At noon, DeSoto police claimed Hughes turned himself into the DeSoto Police Department facing an active felony warrant.
Hughes has been with the Dallas Police Department since March 2016. He is now on administrative leave pending the outcome of an Internal Affairs investigation.
On Dec. 9, 2020 Dallas police responded to a call complaining that a man was shooting a gun near a Motel 6 on R.L Thornton Freeway. “They were moving fast because there was a man shooting at cars on the highway and they wanted to stop the threat,” said defense attorney Toby Shook, who is representing Hughes.
According to court documents, officers claimed they went up to the third floor of the building and were confronted Terry Yearling. Officers found three shell casings in front of room 304. This was according to an arrest affidavit.
Officers knocked on the door. Yearling opened it, saw the officers, then shut it quickly. They heard Yearling chambering a round in what sounded like a handgun. They ordered him to open the door immediately. Officers claimed Yearling opened the door and was take down and arrested when he became uncooperative.
Officers questioned Yearling about the whereabouts of the gun. He confessed that it was under the mattress and shortly after, the gun was confiscated.
Dallas police reviewed body camera footage and determined that officers had lied. They illegally searched the room without a warrant.
Sources say Yearling did not open the door. Instead, officers got a key card to let themselves in. Sources confirm that they can be seen on body camera footage. No warrant to search the room was ever aquired.
Yearling pleaded guilty to the charge because. He was a felon in possession of a firearm and facing federal charges. His attorneys are trying to get the conviction overturned.
Hughes wrote the arrest report that day.
“He winds up having to write the police report, he doesn’t get a chance to look at the body camera,” Shook said. “He’s down at the jail writing the police report from memory and he didn’t put in the fact that someone went and got a card to open this guy’s hotel room once the door is shut.”
Shook says it was a mistake. Dallas police say it was an illegal search.
Shook wonders why no one in the public defender’s office or the District Attorney’s office reviewed the bodycam footage before that happened.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot says the suspect pleaded guilty very quickly and they never got a chance to review the footage.
Dallas police caught the error months later when doing a routine review of bodycam video.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia says this is another case in which he plans to hold officers accountable.
“We are a large police department that hires from the human race,” Garcia said. “I don’t shy away from it, and no police chief in America should and it’s something that needs to happen to build the confidence not only in our community but to build the confidence of the men and women of this department to have in their administration. As long as things are done fairly and there is procedural justice in the organization then we’ll get better and the whole point is to get better.”
Currently, 18 Dallas police officers will be taken before a grand jury for allegations that they might have broken the law.
Yearling has been in prison for months.. He has been transferred to the Dallas County jail while his attorneys work to get him released. His case will now appear before the Court of Criminal Appeals.
The investigation also resulted in grand jury referrals for official oppression for Dallas police officers Nathan Newman, Bradley Williams, Thomas Foster, Moses Munoz and Dylan Nelson. Garcia told WFAA that he would supports officers when they do good. He wound also hold officers accountable that violate the law or police policy.
“Although I am extremely disheartened by what this investigation revealed, I am proud of the internal control measures performed by the supervisors that exposed the actions of those involved,” Garcia wrote in the Tuesday news release. “When we work together and hold all officers accountable for their actions, we build trust among ourselves and the community we serve.”