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Waco PD investigates own shootings, DA wants third party


The question of bias arises as Waco Police do their own investigation after two men were shot by officers Monday.

Those officers are on administrative leave and the special crime unit is doing the investigation.  That unit consists of detectives who work on murders, sexual assaults and officer shootings according to Waco Police. 

However, District Attorney Abel Reyna says that could bring a question of bias.  Reyna says the best thing to do would be to have a third party, like the Texas Rangers, conduct the investigation.

"It's just the right thing to do, it's not a matter of prying, it's not a matter of going after anybody," Reyna said.  "It's a matter of protecting the integrity of the system and the investigation of any type that someone is accused of wrongdoing and they do their own investigation, it creates problems."

Reyna says he's asked Waco Police to use third party investigators, but they said no. However, police say they're fully capable.  Officers say they're fully trained and they're integrity is non-reproachful. 

"We feel that this combination of experience and consistency coupled with the third party review with the District Attorney's Office and by the grand jury of citizens," assistant chief Frank Gentsch said.  "It presents the best protection to citizens that any police conduct is being carried out in a lawful manner."

Reyna says the District Attorney's office does review the investigation.  However, he says they are not a third party check.  He says the grand jury is a check, but they are not involved in the investigation. 

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office says they do use third party investigators like the Texas Rangers.  Chief Deputy Matt Cawthon are trained in forensics and interrogations and they are experts in crime scene investigations.  He also says the Rangers can bring in more resources from other areas of the state."

"If we were involved in this incident, we don't want there to be any doubt that the investigation was done fairly and from an objective standpoint," Cawthon said.   

Reyna he doesn't believe Waco Police is doing anything wrong.  However, he says using a third party just gets rid of any question of bias.  With the current attitude toward police, he says that can be important to do.

"Nowadays people are critical of every facet of the criminal justice system, people are critical of law enforcement people are critical of prosecutors," Reyna said.   

The Killeen Police Department says they also conduct their own investigations.  But the Bell County Sheriff's Office says they use third parties.  Reyna says the Bell County DA also says he requires a third party investigator. 

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