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Law Oreiees oF vento I a GILL & BRISSETTE oan CexriteD CRIMINAL (Nor a Paxtnensi?) Texas BOARD oF Lical Seeciakizarion Weis Farco Tower Branca HaDLEY D. Mines Brisserr: 201 Maan Sree, Soret $01 Bose Cenrien Crh La Fonr Wort, Texas 76102 ‘Tenn bose oF Lica Seealizaon area R. Marr Tromso scsitg (817) 338-0700 October 11, 2019 Mr. Patrick Wilson County & District Attorney Ellis County, Texas 109 S, Jackson Waxahachie, TX 75165 re: Grand Jury investigation—Oatman and Brown case Dear Mr. Wilson: At your request, the Fort Worth law firm of Gill and Brissette undertook an exhaustive independent review of Ennis Police Department case number 1615193 and previous grand jury proceedings conducted by your office related to that case. Mr. Miles Brissette and I were sworn in as special prosecutors on August 9, 2019 and recently concluded our independent review. You asked us to follow our investigation with a high-level overview of our findings and impressions. This case involves an aggravated robbery of a Chipotle store in Ennis, Texas on November 12, 2016. Mr. Brissette and I spent considerable time reviewing both the case file provided by Ennis PD as well as voluminous grand jury testimony recorded before we were appointed. While working on the case, we also issued numerous subpoenas to Ennis PD and their record management system provider. We reviewed further materials provided pursuant to those subpoenas. Additional grand jury testimony was adduced. We also conducted telephone ierviews with several individuals. At the beginning of the grand jury investigation, apparently the focus was on the merits of the aggravated robbery case that had occurred in Ennis. As the investigation progressed, the investigation became more focused on the methods, procedures and competence of Ennis PD. In fact, a district judge took the unusual measure of extending the grand jury for further proceedings. ‘There were concerns expressed during the grand jury investigation that Ennis PD had mishandled the investigation to the point that the underlying aggravated robbery case could not be prosecuted. This concen was expressed by members of the Ellis County grand jury that heard the case, as well as members of your office. Their concern proved to be well-founded. ‘We determined that the investigation conducted by Ennis PD was flawed from the very beginning. The flaws with the investigation went well beyond the fact that the two robbers on foot were able to evade four or more responding officers in patrol vehicles. www.GillBrissette.com As we worked our way through the file we came to several inescapable conclusions: that no Ennis PD officer could credibly explain who discovered several key pieces of evidence, that no Ennis PD officer could explain where several key pieces of evidence were discovered, that no Ennis PD officer could explain the condition of the evidence when discovered and that the reports written by the Ennis PD officers were wholly inadequate to accurately record the events for later prosecution of the case. Although Ennis PD has a set of general orders, the general orders were largely not followed during this investigation. One glaring omission from required procedures is the reporting and investigation of the officer-involved shooting that occurred during this robbery. The officer who fired the shots and two other officers at the scene cursorily mentioned the shooting in their offense reports, Two other officers who were present at the scene when the shots were fired (including one who was in close proximity to the shooting officer) did not even mention itin their reports. Even though there is conflicting evidence as to the reason given by the officer for firing the shots, no separate critical incident report was completed on this shooting by any officer. No independent investigation was done of the officer-involved shooting aspect of the case. Apparently, the whole departmental inquiry of the officer shooting consisted of the reports being read by a supervisor who proclaimed it a “good shoot” and summarily closed the inquiry. Furthermore, when the events were unfolding and shots were fired at the scene, no officer put out a “shots fired” call over the radio, This omission could easily have led to death or injury to an officer or civilian at the scene. The officer who fired the shots that night admitted that he was a poor shot. His report describes his firing of shots in a manner that is borderline negligent. The grand jury investigation revealed numerous instances of lack of training and lack of serviceable basic equipment, One example of this state of affairs is the method used by the crime scene officer for numbering the evidence collected at the scene. This officer did not have a full set of basic numbered placards to mark the evidence for photographing, so he simply used the few placards that were available to him, As a result, there are unexplained gaps in the recording of the evidence collected. Another example is the state of the video and audio recordings made by the officers during their response and on-scene investigation, There was either a lack of knowledge of recording system operation or the recording system was incapable of making a complete and accurate recording. It is impossible to tell from the existing materials and equipment which is the case. There were allegations brought up during the grand jury investigation from an Ennis officer that the officer’s report had been altered by others in the department. This same officer stated that the administration of the department is “corrupt.” No evidence was found that would substantiate the claim that the report was altered. However, the mere fact that this allegation was made points to a lack of confidence in officer to officer or officer to supervisor relations. In our experience, when accusations such as these are made, it points to a critical lack of morale and trust within a department. This and many similar allegations lead to a conclusion that there is a general lack of credibility that can be attributed to individual officers and to the department as a whole. The citizens of Ennis, Texas deserve effective and conscientious policing from their police department. We found the police department to be isolated and insular in their dealings with other county entities, The department often assumes an adversarial stance when their methods are examined. They do not employ sound methods of reporting and documenting the factual findings of their work. This results in a loss of information and creation of uncertainty to the point that cases such as the instant case likely cannot be effectively prosecuted. There appears to be an unwillingness in the department to advance their fund of law enforcement knowledge, Overall, our investigation found that Ennis PD is poorly trained and does not seem to be interested in making improvements. Based on what we learned from members of the grand jury, the issues identified in our investigation are not limited to a single, isolated event. Ennis PD appears to have a widespread systemic failure of leadership, training, support and communication, The failures of the Ennis Police Department have the potential to undermine the integrity of cases from that department which may be prosecuted by your office. During this investigation, possibly exculpatory and mitigating information was learned. during the grand jury sessions, We discussed your office’s obligation to make defendants aware of these matters as they relate to individual cases. We understand that your office is working on a solution to provide this information as required Thank you for the opportunity to assist your office with this interesting case. Respectfully submitted, D. MILES B TTE S.B.0.T. No, 50511628 Land Robert K. GILL S.B.0.T. No. 07921600