Georgetown police officer fired again over cactus juice allegations

Stephanie Hoskins-Brown, 31, was notified of her termination in a letter sent Friday. Georgetown Police Chief Wayne Nero wrote that the county attorney and district attorney had refused to accept any cases that Hoskins-Brown filed as a patrol officer, which meant she could “no longer fulfill one of the essential job functions for your position, which is testifying in court proceedings.”

The letter came with a copy of the Oct. 31 letter that Williamson County Attorney Dee Hobbs and Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty sent to the chief. Their letter says that Hoskins-Brown made contradictory statements when she was interviewed to determine her “knowledge of the drug ingested.”

“Either Hoskins-Brown was intentionally deceitful with the investigators, or she lacks the mental acumen to relate basic facts when questioned by fellow officers,” the attorneys’ letter said. The letter also said “any future involvement she has in a criminal investigation would threaten to undermine the State’s ability to achieve a just resolution.”

Nero declined to comment Friday. Hobbs and Duty did not return requests for comment.

Hoskins-Brown was originally fired back in June, after her ex-boyfriend, former Round Rock police officer Eric Poteet, told police that she drank juice from a San Pedro cactus. The juice contains mescaline, a psychoactive drug that is illegal in Texas.

Hoskins-Brown told investigators she drank the cactus juice once in the summer of 2012. She said Poteet gave it to her, telling her it was an “herbal cleanser.”

Hoskins-Brown appealed her first termination. Her attorney, Robert McCabe, said he found out Thursday that a hearings examiner had given Hoskins-Brown back her job, and ordered the city to give her back pay. The examiner found the city of Georgetown couldn’t prove that Hoskins-Brown was lying when she told an investigator she didn’t know that the juice she drank contained the illegal drug, said McCabe.

“Officer Hoskins has been exonerated of wrongdoing but Duty and Hobbs are bound and determined to see her career ended, regardless of the hearing examiner finding in her favor and ordering her reinstated,” said McCabe.

He said this “abhorrent position by Hobbs and Duty” will lead to further litigation and possibly a criminal complaint. McCabe cited a section of the Texas Penal Code that says a public servant can be charged with official oppression — a Class A misdemeanor — if he or she “intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful.”

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