January 31, 2013
The arrest earlier this week of two Houston police officers charged with taking a measly $1,000 a piece to protect a supposed load of cocaine begs a few questions:
How could they be bought so cheaply?
Why would the two 26-year-old officers who joined the force in 2010 throw away their lives by getting involved in such a scheme?
There can’t be much worse than being an ex-police officer in a penitentiary.
Some would say it doesn’t matter if they were offered $1,000 or $1 million — a corrupt cop is a corrupt cop and there is no measuring stick for how much. That would be true.
Michael Miceli and Emerson Canizales are temporarily free on bond but face up to life in prison for taking about a weeks’ pay to escort a supposed load of 11 pounds of cocaine across the city.
Both had patrolman jobs that started out about $45,000 a year (and plenty more with overtime) and what would seem to be a straight path for solid futures. Their personnel files, which would include any disciplinary actions taken against them in the past, have not yet been released.
They graduated from the same police academy class.
One of them has three kids and a pregnant wife. And their family members, some of them in tears, sat in the courtroom earlier this week as they were advised of the charges, read their rights and advised that a trial is coming.
Now the thousands of officers that just days ago might have had their backs are now turning their backs on them.
Privately, some officers are wondering what is up
They never learn, one law enforcement officer said of young officers who take the wrong path.
How did they ever get into law enforcement to begin with, another asked. They must have had a bad bone in them from the start, he said. Another suggested they just couldn’t handle the power and opportunity that came their way when they put on a badge.
They have not yet had their day in court – to face their accusers and beat back the charges. We do not yet know if the feds have a real case, but they rarely lose. Most drug defendants don’t even risk a trial, but instead plead guilty and hope for leniency.
It would seem like $1,000 was such a low fee that it might have been the start of a relationship in which they hoped to make some steady extra money.
Wouldn’t it be obvious that they’d become human Get-Out-of-Jail-Free cards for the criminals who would give them up in a heart beat?
If there is a trial, perhaps we’ll know more about who they allegedly knew, and how prosecutors contend they got involved in the drug business. If not, we may never know.
Traces of Reality: A grand seems like a paltry sum to compromise one’s own career, safety, and family, so I can’t help but wonder if cops just go cheap these days (it’s the economy, stupid), or if Miceli and Canizales are taking the fall to conceal anything more significant? I wouldn’t be surprised one bit. -DB