Ex-Atlanta officer to serve 25 years for sodomy against woman reporting crime

Howard Portis, 38, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

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Howard Portis, 38, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

A former Atlanta police officer convicted of sexually assaulting a woman who called 911 to report a burglary was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday, the Fulton County district attorney said.

Howard Portis must also serve the remainder of his life on probation following his prison sentence and register as a sex offender. He is prohibited from having any contact with his victim, the DA’s office said.

Earlier this month, a jury convicted Portis of aggravated sodomy. He is still facing additional charges because investigators believe he routinely turned off his body camera before making sexual advances, the DA’s office said.

In addition to the sodomy charge, Portis, 38, was convicted of violation of oath of public office and returned to the Fulton jail. A trial date for his second indictment has not been scheduled.

“I firmly hold the belief that law enforcement officers who engage in criminal actions that breach public trust must be prosecuted,” Deputy District Attorney Sonya Allen said in a statement. “Such incidents not only undermine the community’s confidence but also diminish the cooperation and faith citizens should place in the police force.”

According to investigators, Portis responded to a call on March 25, 2021, from a woman reporting a burglary at her Glenn Street home. Once inside, Portis deactivated his camera and physically forced her to perform sexual acts, prosecutors said.

“His actions were interrupted by an incoming phone call, followed by the arrival of a second officer dispatched to the scene,” the DA’s office said. “The victim remained silent about the assault due to her heightened fear and distrust of law enforcement.”

When the woman was again alone with Portis, he offered her $250 for sex, according to investigators. She then ran from the home to her pastor’s house down the street. The pastor called for an ambulance for the woman, who remained overnight at a hospital.

The victim later filed a complaint with the Atlanta Office of Constituency, the DA’s office said.

Portis joined the Atlanta police department as a cadet in March 2019 and became an officer in February 2020, according to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council. He resigned in April 2021 while under investigation, records show.

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