Texas Cops Picking a Lock And Breaking Down Door Without Warrant

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Grand jury indictments against a city of Llano police officer and a Llano County deputy are the latest in a series of criminal charges against the largest municipal police force in the county. On Aug. 13, a grand jury indicted Llano Police Officer Mark Burke and Llano County Deputy Duncan Roberts each on three counts of official oppression after trying to pick a lock at a home, then kicking the door in and arresting a man inside. The August indictments are the latest in a string of criminal charges that have led to the resignation, suspension and termination of five Llano city cops —including the force’s police chief. Roberts is the latest Llano County Sheriff’s Office deputy charged in connection to any of the abuse of power charges since the first indictment came down in December 2017. As of this report, five officers are awaiting trial on multiple counts of abuse of power charges. On June 9, Roberts and Burke responded to a 911 call of domestic violence at a home just outside of town off State Highway 29. Burke was responding as back up for the deputy. Burke was also wearing a body camera and turned it on after getting to the scene. Burke, the video shows, met with a woman in the home’s driveway who told Burke she got into an argument with her live-in boyfriend, Clay Holley, who tried to keep her and their kids from leaving the home. The woman told officers Holley never hit her and that Holley had walked back inside their house and locked the door. The video shows Burke and Roberts shining flashlights into Holley’s home and Burke walked inside the garage. Roberts can be heard knocking on Holley’s front door several times.

Holley never answered the door. Burke said a deadbolt was keeping them from getting inside. Burke pulled a lock pick kit from his police truck and tried for nearly two minutes to break into Holley’s front door. Seconds later, Holley walked out of a bedroom and to the front door as Burke was picking the lock. “Don’t try to break into my house,” Holley yelled at Burke and Roberts. The officers ordered Holley several times to open his door, the video shows. “No, I’m not opening nothing. No, you have no right coming into my house,” Holley yelled at the officers through his glass front door. “Open the door or we’re coming through it! A domestic occurred here, we’re going to conduct an investigation,” Burke yelled back. The video shows Burke pull his taser as Roberts gives Holley a few final warnings and a three-count that he’s going to kick his door in. “I’m not playing with you man,” Roberts said as he started kicking the door. On the fourth kick, Roberts forced Holley’s door open and rushed inside to arrest him. “Dude, stop, this is my house! Stop,” Holley yelled as the officers rushed inside. “Get on the ground. What did we tell you over and over,” Roberts said as Holley placed his hands behind his back and laid himself out on the floor of his house. “You’re going to jail,” Roberts told Holley as he stood over him. The officers held Holley in the back of a patrol unit for nearly an hour, then later took the handcuffs off and let him go. Holley was never charged with a crime.

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