STEVE UECKERT CHRONICLE Quanell X holds up an ID badge at a press conference Thursday with the Rev. Ronald Steve Smith, left, on Thursday.
A Baptist minister known for helping displaced hurricane victims is accused of pretending to be a law enforcement officer, but he denies it.
Ronald Steve Smith, 49, minister at New Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, is charged with impersonating a peace officer, a third-degree felony. A Harris County grand jury is expected to consider his case, said his attorney, Robert A. Jones.
"I want you to know I've done nothing wrong," Smith said during a news conference Thursday at his church in southeast Houston.
Smith, who is free on $5,000 bail, declined to discuss details of the case, but Jones said his client did not try to pass himself off as a peace officer.
According to court documents, Precinct 2 Deputy Constable Thomas Pacifico stopped Smith for an expired registration sticker on Aug. 10.
Pacifico stated in the complaint that Smith showed him a Precinct 7 badge and identification. Smith also said he was a Precinct 7 reserve officer, Pacifico stated. He released Smith with a warning.
Pacifico later checked Smith's background with Precinct 7 officials and was told that Smith had been a minister with Precinct 7 but was later fired for his conduct, according to the complaint. Pacifico then filed the charge against Smith.
Jones said Smith had been a member of Precinct 7's minister group and had been issued a badge and identification. Precinct 7 officials later asked him to return the badge after he endorsed Precinct 7 Constable May Walker's opponent in the March primary election.
Walker said Thursday she asked Smith to return the items.
Smith has helped people displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Ike.