STOCKTON — Officer Houston Stephens has been with the Stockton Police Department for eight years.
Since 2012, he’s been involved in four shootings. Three people have been shot and killed by Stephens. The most recent shooting was in February of 2016. Others in July of 2013, February 2013 and august 2012.
In addition to the shootings he is facing allegations of police brutality stemming from an incident in 2014.
Teresa Smith says her disabled son James was a victim of Officer Stephens. “He’s out of control,” Smith told FOX40.
Her 18-year-old son was severely injured after being attacked by Stephens’ K-9 partner. In a YouTube video, James Smith can be seen being attacked by the K-9 while witnesses scream repeatedly that Smith is disabled.
Smith believes Stephens isn’t being held accountable for his actions, a belief only made worse when Stephens recently changed his name.
“He changed it to cover up the dirt,” said Smith.
Officer Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department confirmed that the officer has changed his name from Sensabaugh to Stephens.
“He changed it for personal reasons, and we don’t have any further comment,” Silva said.
Stockton community activist Aaron Paradiso has followed each of the shootings and says they deserve a closer look.
“It was concerning the fact that he has been involved in so many shootings,” said Paradiso.
For Smith and her son James, litigation is pending regarding the 2014 K-9 incident from which James has now recovered.
The police department confirmed the lawsuit but declined to comment further on if the officer’s actions were justified.
“To me, he’s a threat,” Smith said. “He’s a threat to mankind, and I feel like the Stockton PD is allowing him to kill, because they keep letting him work.”
Paradiso has been holding protests in Stockton and keeping in touch with families of those killed.
“We want answers and we aren’t getting them, and I think that’s what’s causing so much concern and mistrust in the community,” Paradiso said.
Officer Stephens was not available for comment. The police department says after each shooting, Stephens was placed on administrative leave for three days. He is now back on the job.