What Penalties To Expect From Assaulting a Texas Police Officer

On January 23, 2022, a training officer, Corporal Charles Galloway, was shot and killed by Oscar Rosales. The shooting occurred during an attempted traffic stop in the early morning. According to the Houston Police Department, Rosales was assisted by 4 other individuals.

In a press conference, authorities told the public that Corporal Galloway tried to conduct a routine traffic stop on the defendant’s white Toyota Avalon. After the vehicle stopped, Rosales exited his vehicle and shot Galloway multiple times with what was described as an assault rifle. The corporal was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, Rosales was charged with capital murder. He was arrested the next day in Mexico. After his arrest, Rosales was transported to Harris County, where he was booked in jail.

The violence didn’t stop there. In a separate incident, 3 police officers from Houston were shot on January 27, 2022. The officers were responding to a domestic call. When they got to the scene, the suspect, Roland Caballero, saw the officers and fled the scene in a car. The officers chased Caballero, who crashed his vehicle into a parking lot gate. Caballero then opened fire on the officers and carjacked a Mercedes. The owner of the Mercedes wasn’t harmed.

Next, Caballero barricaded himself inside a home after another shootout with the police. No officers were fatally injured during the incident, but the standoff lasted for several hours before Caballero was taken into custody.

Thankfully, Officers Alvarez, Gadson and Hayden were all treated at Memorial Hermann Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. According to the Houston Police Department, “One officer was hit in the arm, another was hit in the leg, and the third officer was shot in the foot.”

This isn’t just a Texas problem. On January 21, 2022, in New York, 2 police officers were shot during a gunfight in Harlem. One officer died at the scene, and another was critically wounded. This incident in Harlem happened days after another officer was wounded in the Bronx. The slain officer, Jason Rivera, was only 22 years old and had just joined the force in 2020.

These 2 incidents of violence on police officers brought the total number of NY officers shot to 5 in just the first 3 weeks of 2022.

What is the charge for assault on a police officer in Texas?

Texas Penal Code Ann. § 22.01 states that there are 3 actions that constitute assault:

  • Threatening the deliberate, imminent, physical harm of another person
  • “Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” causing physical harm to another person
  • Any contact with a person’s physical body that you know is offensive or provocative

The assault of a police officer or public servant is considered a serious crime.

According to Texas Penal Code §22.01(b)(1), assaulting a police officer who is on the job is a 3rd-degree felony. With this in mind, you should expect that any penalties and/or jail time will be more severe. Those convicted of assault on a police officer could see between 2 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. These penalties can increase depending on the severity of the assault.

Capital murder in Texas

In the case of Corporal Galloway, his killer, Rosales, was charged with capital murder. Under Texas Penal Code 19.03, capital murder occurs when 1 of the following takes place:

  • The murder of a peace officer or fireman on official duty
  • The intentional commitment of the murder while “committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat”
  • Murder for hire
  • Murder occurs while escaping or trying to escape from prison
  • Murder occurs while incarcerated
  • More than 1 person is murdered
  • The victim is 10 years old or younger

Capital murder, according to Texas Penal Code 12.31, carries penalties of life in prison or the death penalty.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with assault on a police officer or capital murder, it’s essential that you consult an experienced criminal defense attorney, like Matthew Sharp at The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp in Houston. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case.