Denise Garcia, a local mother of three fired from her job following an HPD traffic stop, will be returning to work at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office after a settlement was reached in a federal right lawsuit against the department.
The lawsuit, which cited discrimination and wrongful termination, was settled before the case made it to trail.
“We are very disappointed in the city of Houston that they haven’t come and accepted responsibility for what they did and started this whole ball rolling including accusing Denise of things she didn’t do, which got her fired,” lawyer Randall Kallinen said.
In November 2014, Garcia was pulled over along T.C. Jester Boulevard while driving her son to the doctor. She claims she was pulled over even though she hadn’t broken any laws. The officers asked to search her car, she refused, but they did the search anyway. An officer also searched Garcia’s bra and pants without her permission, according to court documents.
Following the hour-long traffic stop, Garcia filed a complaint with HPD Internal Affairs, citing the illegal searches and that she felt racially profiled.
She was fired from her job at the DA’s office soon after. An employee memo stated investigators believed she was lying about the traffic stop.
“I wanted to go back. First of all, I did nothing wrong,” Garcia said during a press conference over the weekend. I really enjoyed the department I was with. They were a good department to be with, and I’m glad to be back because everyone that knows me knows I did nothing wrong.”
Next week, Garcia and her lawyer plan to file a civil rights suit against the HPD officers that pulled her over.