Dallas: One is accused of sex assault; the other faces oppression charge
By HOLLY YAN
The Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2006 THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
Two Dallas police officers were fired Thursday following recent criminal indictments.
Senior Cpl. Joe Ramos Jr., a nine-year veteran of the department, was indicted by an Ellis County grand jury June 21 on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by contact.
Officer Vincent Coleman, who was indicted on a felony oppression charge on June 23, was fired for, among other things, failing to remain alert while on duty and engaging in official oppression.
Cpl. Ramos' attorney, Phillip Hayes, did not return requests for comment.
Officer Coleman's attorney, Tom Pappas, said his client plans to appeal the termination.
"We look forward to pursuing reinstatement after the criminal charge is dismissed," Mr. Pappas said. "He's not guilty."
Including Thursday's two terminations, Chief David Kunkle has fired 14 officers since he began a housecleaning effort in June. Chief Kunkle was out of town Thursday.
First Assistant Chief David Brown said because of the criminal indictments of Cpl. Ramos and Officer Coleman, the department could not hesitate on their cases.
"With as large of an organization as we have, we know we'll have officers who make mistakes," Chief Brown said. "But there are certain mistakes you can't take back."
In October, a 6-year-old boy told his father that Cpl. Ramos performed oral sex on him, according to police accounts. The father reported the incident to police.
In March, an 8-year-old girl said Cpl. Ramos touched her inappropriately. When the girl's grandparents caught her looking up pornography on a computer, the girl said she had seen it at Cpl. Ramos' home.
The girl also said that when she went swimming at Cpl. Ramos' house, he would make her undress in front of him. The grandparents reported the case to police.
Cpl. Ramos was assigned to the personnel and development division and most recently investigated the backgrounds of police recruits.
Officer Coleman was indicted on the felony oppression charge on June 23.
A motorist claimed Officer Coleman forced her to perform a sexual act in exchange for not taking her to jail after she almost struck his squad car May 1 near the 2000 block of Overton Road.
"I asked the female, 'Why are you alone by yourself at this hour? Where is your boyfriend?'" Officer Coleman wrote in a statement to investigators.
Both said Officer Coleman sat down in the woman's vehicle. According to police reports, both told investigators that he asked her to follow him to a more private area near Lancaster Road and Interstate 20.
Officer Coleman admitted he intended to have sexual contact with the woman but said he did not go through with it.
Officer Coleman has been with the department for four years and was assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division, Cpl. Janice Crowther said.
Chief Brown said Chief Kunkle's housecleaning is meant to build public trust and elevate the department's standards.
"We're going to be transparent. It's so important, and I think the public expects it," Chief Brown said.
But he also hopes current and future officers will get a strong message from the firings.
"I hope it would embolden officers to feel good about the department they work for, that there are high standards set. I see it as a morale booster."
2 Texas officers are fired, making 14 since June