BAYTOWN, Texas – 12 News partner station KHOU has confirmed a veteran Baytown, Texas police officer is the target of both a criminal and internal affairs investigation.
According to affidavits filed in the case, officer Michael Coppock told an 18-year-old driver that he would change two traffic tickets to warnings if the teen would send him naked pictures of herself.
Investigators say Coppock ticketed the driver for speeding and having an expired registration.
Police said Coppock then contacted the teen through social media and text messages. The teen told KHOU the officer contacted her on social media just an hour after he pulled her over.
In laying out their case for a search warrant for Coppock’s cell phone, police say they viewed screenshots of the conversations and characterized the messages as “clearly coercive in nature,” and “putting pressure” on the teen.
According to state records, Coppock has been with the Baytown Police Department for nine years.
The 33-year-old officer did not respond to an email asking for comment on the allegations and no one answered the door Thursday afternoon at the officer’s home.
A spokesman for the police department said he wouldn’t comment on the case and called it an active investigation.
However, he did confirm that while Coppock is still employed by the department, the veteran officer and member of the SWAT team has been pulled off patrol.
Larry Karson, an assistant professor of criminal justice at University of Houston Downtown and a retired federal agent reviewed the affidavits and search warrants obtained by KHOU.
Karson believes the case raises a number of issues for Baytown police.
“Has more than one woman been extorted in this manner?” wondered Karson. “With a story such as you’re doing on KHOU, this is offering the opportunity for other victims to come forth and give their own story of victimization. It also allows the chief to find out if it’s any deeper in his department. If it’s more than one rotten apple. If it’s actually some hidden subculture within the department if he gets more people coming forth.”
So far, Coppock has not been criminally charged in the case.
Court records show along with the officer’s cell phone, investigators have also received search warrants for the Snapchat accounts registered to Coppock and the 18-year-old.