HOUSTON (KIAH) — A Harris County grand jury indicted a former Houston police officer for a felony assault charge for his role in a bogus pre-election fraud incident.
Former police captain Mark Aguirre was indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in a case being prosecuted by the Public Corruption Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. The second-degree felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Aguirre, who was no longer on the force at the time of the incident, first came to authorities with claims of pre-election fraud, but was himself charged in December 2020 for running a man off the road and pointing a gun at his head in order to try to prove his claims.
When presented with all the evidence, a grand jury Tuesday determined that there was probable cause for a crime and indicted the defendant.
“He crossed the line from dirty politics to the commission of a violent crime and we are lucky no one was killed,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. “His alleged investigation was backward from the start, first alleging a crime occurred and then trying to prove it happened.”
According to a previously filed court document describing probable cause for the charge, Aguirre told police shortly after the Oct. 19 incident that he was part of a group of private citizens called “Liberty Center,” who were conducting a civilian investigation into an alleged ballot scheme.
Aguirre said he had been conducting surveillance on the victim for four days under the theory the victim was the mastermind of a giant fraud, and there were 750,000 fraudulent ballots in a truck that he was driving for his business, according to the document. Instead, the victim turned out to be an innocent, air-conditioner repairman.
The document continues that Aguirre ran his personal SUV into the back of the truck to get the technician to stop and get out, according to the document. When the technician got out of the truck, Aguirre pointed a handgun at the technician and forced him to the ground and put a knee on the man’s back – an image captured on the body-worn camera of a police officer.
There were no ballots in the truck. It was filled with air-conditioning parts and tools.
Aguirre never told police that he had been paid a total of $266,400 by the Houston-based Liberty Center for God and Country, $211,400 of which was deposited into his account the day after the incident.