Former HPD officer acquitted in deadly 2020 crash

A former Houston police officer has been acquitted in the 2020 death of a 71-year-old man. 

According to authorities, HPD Ofc. Matthew Valdez was on his way to a call on Nov. 21, 2020, when he crashed into a vehicle driven by Walter Cooper, Jr. in the 7300 block of Ley Road.

BACKGROUND: Motorist killed, two officers injured in NE Houston crash

Valdez and another officer in his patrol unit were hospitalized. Cooper Jr. died in the crash.

The Harris County District Attorney's office says Valdez was driving 90 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone.

He also did not have his emergency lights or siren on.

Court documents show Valdez was indicted by a grand jury for criminally negligent homicide in July 2021.


But on Tuesday, a Harris County judge issued a direct verdict acquitting Valdez.

Cooper's family says they're not surprised by the judge's decision, but they are heartbroken justice was not served.

They say incidents like this are happening too often in lower socioeconomic areas.