HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. — The first day of testimony is in the books in the trial for a former Harris County Sheriff’s deputy. Tommy Pierson is accused of forcing three women to perform sexual acts during traffic stops.
Opening arguments began Wednesday after a day of jury selection. Prosecutor Sheneka Jones quoted a British historian to describe what she believes is a case of someone in a position of power going too far.
“Thomas Pierson had absolute power, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Jones said, citing Sir John Acton.
The defense fired back, saying the case was “as serious as it gets.” Defense attorney Bernard Brody says joining the Harris County Sheriff’s Office made Pierson, 38, adopt a macho-driven mentality. Brody admitted that Pierson’s mentality was sometimes reflected in recorded conversations during traffic stops. Brody added that Pierson would get an intoxicating feeling when he was complimented and flirting with women.
News 3 is also getting a closer glimpse into the kindling that sparked the entire trial: dash cam video from Valentine’s Day 2016. In the video, Pierson is shown walking up to a black Ford sedan on the side of the road. He tells the woman she was going at least 13 miles per hour over the speed limit.
“My granddaughter is very sick with pneumonia,” the woman claimed as the reason for speeding.
The conversation soon took a different turn, as Pierson noted the woman’s picture on her license looked different from how she looked.
“You don’t like blondes?” the woman asked the ex-deputy.
“Oh yes, I do,” Pierson responded. “Very much, as a matter of fact. Blonde is kinda my thing.”
At one point the woman called Pierson a derogatory term.
“You have no filter?” Pierson asked her. “I have to have a filter. Yeah, there’s a lot of things I want to say. I just can’t.”
“Cause if you didn’t have a filter what would you say?” the woman asked, before glancing at Pierson’s wedding ring. “Wait, are you married? Oh, you are so married.”
“Yeah, I’d be bad,” Pierson said. “I’d be very bad.”
“Or good, very good,” the woman responded.
“Yeah, I can be very good at being bad,” Pierson said.
“Yeah me too!” the woman said.
“What do you like, filter or no filter?” Pierson asked.
“I like both,” the woman answered.
“Which one do you like right now?” Pierson questioned.
“If I didn’t have to be at the hospital, I’d like no filter,” the woman told him on the dash cam video.
After the woman received a warning, video shows Pierson stopping her again about ten minutes later. The woman claims the officer then forced her to perform sexual acts.
“He forced my head down, he pulled my hair back, and as I come off he pulls it back down again,” the woman said.
Pierson has since been fired but says those sexual acts were consensual. The trial continues Thursday morning at 8:30 A.M. Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley, among other witnesses, is expected to take the stand.