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US Houston prosecutor fired after asking about crime victim's immigration status

08:45  09 november  2019
08:45  09 november  2019 Source:   foxnews.com

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A Houston prosecutor was fired Friday after he allegedly refused to bring charges against a man accused of attempted sexual assault because he believed the victim When Denholm spoke with the officer, he asked about the victim ' s immigration status , suspecting that if he was undocumented

To the police officer who was there, what happened Halloween night inside a Houston jail certainly qualified as a crime : An inmate locked up on suspicion of drunken driving tried to pull another inmate toward him while exposing himself. The other inmate screamed for help.

A Houston prosecutor was fired Friday after he allegedly refused to bring charges against a man accused of attempted sexual assault because he believed the victim was living in the United States illegally.

The Harris County Criminal Justice Center in Houston© Juan Lozano/AP Photo The Harris County Criminal Justice Center in Houston

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg fired John Denholm after he had been reassigned to a different part of the office pending an investigation of the Oct. 31 incident, The New York Times reported.

“It is wrong to ask about a victim’s immigration status; it is against our policy, and it won’t be tolerated,” Ogg said in a statement. “We treat everyone equally under the law, no matter how they came to be here.”

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The Houston police union and other critics are now demanding the prosecutor be fired . The officer who witnessed the incident never asked the alleged victim ’ s immigration status , Gamaldi said, and yet the prosecutor , identified by the union as John Denholm, refused to accept the charges after

Immigration -related issues have been hot-button issues for Texas The bill allowing police officers to question witnesses about their immigration status will keep people from One would have exempted children from being questioned about their immigration status if they are a crime victim or witness.

Denholm had been with the office since January 2017 and is a retired Harris County Sheriff's deputy, KRIV-TV reported. He was questioning an officer who was present inside a Houston jail when Karl Bonner, an inmate suspected of drunk driving, allegedly tried pulling another inmate closer while exposing himself in a holding cell.

The inmate screamed for help and an officer told Bonner “to get his hand off the complainant and to pull his pants up."

When Denholm spoke with the officer, he asked about the victim's immigration status, suspecting that if he was undocumented, he wouldn't come to court to testify, according to media reports.

“The district attorney, out of nowhere, says, ‘Well, is the complainant illegal?’" Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, told The Washington Post on Thursday. "He goes, ‘Because if he’s illegal, I’m not taking the charge.'"

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If an immigrant is convicted of a crime , it makes them more at risk of deportation. But even small changes in the way a crime is prosecuted can have But it' s not just about victims . Considering the immigration consequences for defendants has been another way prosecutors are trying to rebuild

Trending in US. Houston prosecutor fired after asking about crime victim ' s immigration status .

Denholm's alleged actions were quickly condemned by immigration activists and law enforcement officials. Both groups demanded he be fired.

"An attempted sexual assault is a sexual assault, and the assistant district attorney who failed to file charges for this crime shouldn’t be reassigned, he should be fired because he is a racist and menace to the Hispanic community,” said Domingo Garcia, the national president of League of United Latin American Citizens, a Latino advocacy group.

“Unfortunately, sadly, a member of the district attorney’s office was more interested in this person’s status in terms of their immigration status,” said Houston Police Chief Acevedo.

On Twitter, the police union said: "Victims of attempted sexual assault should not have justice stolen from them because a high ranking DA wants to question their legal status."

In an email to the Post, Denholm said he was “aware of who made the inflammatory allegations” and suggested the officer's narrative was untrustworthy, according to the Post.

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Victims are not required to be in legal immigration status , but they must: Be a victim of qualifying The T nonimmigrant status (or T visa) provides immigration protection to victims of severe forms of Officials such as police officers, healthcare providers, judges, and prosecutors are often the first

An assistant DA has been reassigned after refusing to bring charges to a man because the victim of his crime was in the country illegally.

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Aise from the Halloween incident, Denholm also butted heads with law enforcement over his reluctance to file criminal charges.

“He historically has been challenging to law enforcement and refuses to accept solid charges,” Harris County Deputies Organization president David Cuevas told the Houston Chronicle.

Click for more from Fox26Houston.com

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