AUSTIN (KXAN) – Former Hutto police officer Gregory Parris was sentenced Tuesday to a year in county jail for assault and official oppression; however, the sentence was probated for that one year—meaning Parris is on probation instead, and his time in jail has been suspended.
A lawsuit was filed against Parris in 2018 after he struck Jeremy Rogers in the face during an arrest in a Hutto neighborhood. The City of Hutto settled the lawsuit in September 2020, costing the city more than $225,000, according to previous reports.
State attorney Julian Ramirez said Parris must abide by certain terms during the probation, such as not breaking the law, performing community service and participating in anger management counseling.
“The real punishment in the case was the loss of his peace officer license, and the fact that the conviction prevents him from becoming a police officer again—that’s what [Parris] wanted out of this case,” Ramirez said.
Over the years and across Texas, hundreds of law enforcement officers permanently surrendered their peace officer licenses. In most cases, the officers were accused or charged with a crime, often felonies, and in almost every case, the officers used their license as a bargaining tool. The officers agreed to surrender their licenses as part of a deal to avoid jail or prison.
“The fact that [Parris] won’t be able to be a police officer—I think it’s significant punishment,” Ramirez said. “It also provides some… safety to the community. We feel that his violation of the public’s trust and violation of civil rights was a serious offense, and we are grateful that the jury agreed with us and held him accountable for his actions.”
The trial against Parris for excessive force began April 26 at the Williamson County Justice Center after his 2019 indictment. Parris was charged with official oppression and assault that caused bodily injury.
According to previous reports, the Hutto Police Department placed Parris on administrative leave while under indictment, but he was officially laid off in March 2020 when the city made cuts during the pandemic.
On April 29, a jury found Parris guilty of both assault and official oppression, and his sentencing date was scheduled for June.
According to previous coverage, witnesses for the state, including an FBI and law enforcement officers, said Rogers did not appear to pose a threat and that Parris went beyond what was allowed.
Peace officer licenses are issued and maintained by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, and all law enforcement officers at the municipal, county and state levels, except for state corrections officers, must be licensed.