Houston/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 12, 2024
Houston Park Ranger Charged with Official Oppression in Extortion Incident at Cullen ParkSource: Google Street View

In a recent incident that underscores issues of trust and abuse of power within the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, a park ranger named Joey Lamar Ellis, 33, has been arrested on felony charges for official oppression, as reported by The Houston Chronicle.

Ellis, who hails from Webster, was detained Tuesday after a park patron came forward, stating that Ellis demanded $300 to avoid arrest during an unsettling 3 a.m. encounter at Cullen Park, offering the two $20 bills he had on him and transferring the remaining amount electronically; the ranger, while in an official jacket and driving a city vehicle—threatening jail if his demands were not met, the patron complied, feeling forced by the circumstances, according to the KPRC 2 report.

Further complicating matters, the victim disclosed that during the encounter, Ellis had a gun and demanded that he strip off all his clothes, a detail that adds a layer of intimidation and potential criminality to the already disturbing report, his bond has been set at $30,000, and Ellis, currently unemployed according to his financial affidavit, remained in the Harris County Jail as of Wednesday morning, with no defense attorney listed.

As of now, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department has yet to respond to press inquiries regarding Ellis' employment and the allegations against him, Holly Galvan of KPRC 2 reached out for comment but has not received any communication back.