A Houston cop was convicted by a jury last week and sentenced to the maximum of 20 years in prison for shooting a woman in the head during a road-rage incident while he was on paid leave for several other road-raging incidents.
He was also one of thousands of cops deemed mentally stable by a psychologist who this month pleaded guilty to not conducting face-to-face evaluations with police recruits.
In other words, there are probably many more like him patrolling the streets of Houston.
As a Harris County reserve deputy, Kenneth Caplan racked up 18 road rage incidents over a two-year span, including waving his gun at drivers while driving 95 mph on Interstate 45, according to the Houston Chronicle.
On another occasion, he pulled over a driver in his civilian role – but that driver was a police officer who filed a report.
On Friday, his defense lawyer said he should have never been licensed as a peace officer.
Caplan was already on employee probation for anger issues when he opened fire on a 20-year-old Lori Annab for honking her horn when he cut her off during rush hour in Houston on 610 Loop at Stella Link.
When the cop caught up with the woman, he rolled down his window and shot into her car.
Thankfully, the bullet only grazed Annab’s head and despite being badly injured, she survived. But she now suffers seizures as a result of the attack.
“The doctor told me your case in one in a million. I don’t ever see this,” she said.
“I feel like I got a taste of death, honestly.”
Caplan at the time said shooting the woman wasn’t intentional, but even if it was, it still would have been justified because she was driving “aggressively”.
After all, he told the Houston Press, Annab was not the victim, and she should be the one prosecuted for aggravated assault instead.
In a January interview with the Press, Caplan explained why he thought he was innocent for shooting into Annab’s car and grazing her head with a bullet.
“What I did was more than legal. I had every right…I don’t bullshit anybody; I’m not the kind of person to lie. And I’m going to tell you this: If I really tried to kill this woman in cold blood, I wouldn’t be saying anything to anybody. My mouth would have been shut from the very beginning; I would’ve said ‘lawyer,’ and that would have been the end of it. I tried to explain to the detectives…they would not believe it…I’m a fellow fucking police officer. What the hell is wrong with these people?”
Annab is suing not only Caplan and Harris County in civil court, she’s also suing the psychologist who vouched for him becoming a cop.
“What sticks out is this was not an accident, this was an incident waiting to happen. First, when I read it, it was chilling,” her attorney Steve Couch said.
It’s a huge question mark, in my opinion,” he added, referring to Caplan’s employment file which showed he had been fired from 12 of the 21 jobs he had over the past 5 years.
Just last week, Dr. Carole Busick pleaded guilty to tampering with government records and admitted to tampering with the mental health evaluations of peace officers, because, often times, she never even saw them face-to-face.
“I engaged a psychologist that said she fell short of the standard in testing and evaluating Caplan if she tested him at all,” Couch said, referring to Dr. Busick.
According to Harris County financial records, Busick was paid nearly $700,000 for her services since May 2013.
Dr. Carole Busick, with attorney Mike Hinton, pleaded guilty to tampering with government evidence after being accused of giving free passes to potential officers.
She was sentenced to ten years of deferred adjudication probation.
According to the Chronicle, Dr. Busick certified 1,860 of 4,000 Harris County Sherriff’s Office’s employees, which is nearly half. As of May 0f, 2016 only 82 have been retested.
The Texas Tribune found Busick was signing off on the mental health of police officers without even meeting them face-to-face.
“I think if she would have evaluated him like she was supposed to, this would have never happened,” said Anabb.
Kaplan was also kicked out of law enforcement academy for acting hostile, ignoring safety standards, jumping the chain of command several times, and lying.
Jurors deliberated less than an hour before deciding to sentence Caplan to the 20-year maximum Friday.