This D.A. Is Trying To Prosecute a Doctor for Vaccinating Unauthorized People Instead of Letting Supplies Expire
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg swept into office in 2016, promising important criminal justice reforms like prioritizing important crimes and easing up on pretrial detention and high bail in her Texas jurisdiction. Her campaign site advertised her as “Texas’ most progressive District Attorney.”
“We’re going to have a system with fair bail; we’re going to have a system that doesn’t oppress the poor; we’re going to have a system that goes after the rapists and the robbers,” she said in her victory speech in 2016. She was reelected in 2020.
But right now, Ogg is hellbent on trying to prosecute a Houston doctor who vaccinated 10 people against COVID-19 rather than let doses go to waste. And even though a judge has already essentially laughed her out of the court, she’s taking the case to a grand jury.
Hasan Gokal, a Pakistani immigrant, briefly became national news in January when media outlets reported he had been fired for “stealing” a vial of COVID-19 vaccine doses and giving it to friends and family.
“He abused his position to place his friends and family in line in front of people who had gone through the lawful process to be there,” Ogg said in January.
But that characterization of what happened is disputed, and Harris County Judge Franklin Bynum has already tossed the case out for lack of probable cause and rebuked Ogg’s office for attempting to “criminalize a doctor’s documented administration of vaccine doses during a public health emergency.”
It turned out what really happened with Gokal is the problem we’ve been seeing play out across the country—medical providers having to hustle to find people to inject before these vaccines expire.
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