Third Llano officer sentenced in connection to 2017 arrest
A former Llano police officer received probation and a fine on February 11 for his involvement in a 2017 arrest that led to a number of abuse-of-power charges against four officers. Two of the other officers have been convicted in the case.
On January 24, a Llano County jury found Jared Latta guilty of official oppression. On Tuesday, he was back in State District Judge Evan Stubbs’ courtroom to learn his fate.
Stubbs sentenced Latta to a year-long jail sentence but suspended it for two years of probation and a $500 fine.
Llano County District Attorney Sonny McAfee didn’t fight the probation but asked the court to consider some jail time.
“But, we didn’t get that,” he said.
Latta is the third officer to be convicted in connection to the May 2, 2017, arrest of Cory Nutt. Previously, former Llano Police Chief Kevin Ratliff and former officer Grant Harden were convicted on charges related to the incident.
A fourth former officer, Aimee Shannon, still faces charges and a possible trial.
Ratliff was convicted in 2018 on charges of three Class A misdemeanors of official oppression and tampering. Harden was convicted on official oppression charges at a later date. Ratliff received one year’s probation, while Harden received two years’ probation. Neither was sentenced to jail time.
In Nutt’s 2017 arrest, officers entered the man’s home during an investigation of public intoxication without a warrant, consent, or exigent circumstances to do so, according to officials.
While Latta won’t serve any jail time during his probation, McAfee said he cannot work as a police officer or in a similar role. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement can still revoke Latta’s peace officer license.
The district attorney commended the jury in Latta’s trial.
“I’m sure they didn’t like having to consider convicting a police officer,” McAfee said, “but the jury did a great job.”
As a former police officer himself, McAfee said investigating and prosecuting a police officer isn’t something he enjoys.
“Quite honestly, I don’t like it,” he said. “It’s one of the most distasteful things I have to do. The men and women in law enforcement have a tremendously difficult job to do, but my responsibility is to the whole community. I won’t hesitate to investigate an officer if they’ve done something wrong.”