In an article titled “Whistle-blower finally gets trial,” Rosanna Ruiz of the Houston Chronicle reports on the case of Houston Police Department officer Paulino Zavala. Excerpt:
A former Houston narcotics officer’s whistle-blower lawsuit will go to trial today after lingering in court for four years and benefiting from two appellate rulings that kept it from being dismissed.
Paulino Zavala alleges the Houston Police Department retaliated against him after he reported improprieties by internal affairs division investigators during their probe of a narcotics department clerk.
In 1996, Zavala reported to a supervisor and then-Police Chief Sam Nuchia that internal affairs investigators had violated policy by releasing confidential information about the clerk to those outside the department.
Zavala’s letter to Nuchia also accused the investigators of discrimination, coercion and intimidation of a witness.
Zavala’s suit said he was harassed, forced to take three polygraph tests, placed under surveillance and arrested without probable cause as a result of his complaint.
Pseudoscientific polygraph “tests,” which can be manipulated by the polygrapher to produce the desired outcome, are a godsend for the corrupt public official seeking to discredit a whistleblower.