FORTWORTH Tarrant County prosecutors have dropped a case against eight former Fort Worth police officers who were accused of falsifying tickets in order to receive overtime pay.
The allegations first surfaced in 2010. Prosecutors initially submitted the case to a grand jury and received an indictment against eight of the nine men named in the fraud investigation.
But, in a statement released on Friday, prosecutors said there were too many issues to proceed.
'With the passage of time and upon further investigation, issues have been revealed that affect the viability of this prosecution,' wrote assistant district attorney David Lobingier. 'These issues were unforeseen upon presentation to the grand jury of the case and include unavailability of witnesses, lack of memory by certain witnesses of the events underlying this offense and new evidence.'
Outside legal experts were surprised at the decision given the initial publicity of the case and that a grand jury saw enough initial evidence to move forward with charges.
'Something's fishy here,' said Trent Loftin, a local attorney not connected to the case. 'Witnesses forget things all the time. You have other evidence you can use.'
The officers were accused of writing tickets and submitting them to make it appear as if the incidents occurred during overtime periods for federal grant programs.
An internal investigation by the department and city led to the termination of six officers and three other officers resigned. While some of the officers have attempted to get their job backs, city officials said the decision by the DA won't alter the terminations or resignations.
News 8 reached out to an attorney representing some of the officers but didn't receive a reply as of 10 p.m. Friday. The Fort Worth Police Officers Association didn't want to comment Friday.