Former OPD Officer Sentenced, Brother Speaks Out - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Former OPD Officer Sentenced, Brother Speaks Out

ODESSA, TX (KWES) -

A former Odessa Police officer convicted of groping women during traffic stops was sentenced Monday afternoon to one year in state jail, five years of probation and $10,000 in fines.

Salvador Becerra, 31, faced a maximum of two years behind bars and has already been credited with 110 days of time served.

He was found guilty Friday night on five counts of improper sexual activity with a person in custody. Ector County jurors in the 244th District Court acquitted him on one count of the same felony, as well as a sexual assault charge that carried up to 20 years of prison time.

His older brother, Ruben Becerra, told NewsWest 9 his family planned to explore appeal options.

"I feel a person's whole life cannot be judged by one month of events," he said. "If it's something like murder or something, okay. But [a crime] like this? In another country, this wouldn't even have gone to court."

Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland told jurors multiple women had been psychologically scarred by Becerra's "abuse of power" in uniform.

"We appreciate the bravery of our witnesses and victims in coming forward to say what happened to them," he told NewsWest 9. "I think something like this should probably carry a longer sentence [than the six months to two years available under state law]."

Defense attorney Justin Low said he considered the verdict and relatively short jail sentence "a win" for his client.

Ruben Becerra insisted any amount of jail time was "unfair" and said he did not believe his brother was capable of the crimes he had been convicted of.

"He's my best friend," he told NewsWest 9. "He's my younger brother, but I was the one who looked up to him."

He praised "Sal" for returning to school after serving two overseas tours in the military and said his brother is currently three courses away from receiving a Bachelor's degree.

"He [would have been] the first in our family to graduate college," Becerra said. "[These accusations] are all about money... The fight is not over."

It's unclear if the defense has grounds to file any kind of appeal.

No civil lawsuits related to Becerra's improper sexual activity convictions have been filed, prosecutors confirmed.

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