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Twenty-five peace officers from Bexar County’s two largest law enforcement agencies were arrested in 2021, marking an increase from the previous year, according to records compiled by KSAT 12 Defenders.
The tally, which includes BCSO deputies and SAPD agents arrested out of duty or charged after their dismissal by their respective agencies for the incidents, was 20% higher than in 2020. That year, a total of 20 law enforcement officers from the two agencies faces criminal charges.
The charges ranged from a DWI offense to inappropriate behavior while working in prison to more serious offenses such as possession of child pornography, sexual assault and aggravated assault by a peace officer.
A total of 11 SAPD officers have been charged with criminal charges this year, up from seven in 2020.
SAPD Agent Erik Rodriguez had a flurry of legal trouble starting in January, when investigators accused him of accepting money in exchange for providing information to the suspect in a domestic violence case.
Rodriguez, who resigned from SAPD after being suspended indefinitely in March, was charged at the end of January with corruption, abuse of public information and possession of child pornography.
Rodriguez is free on bail pending trial in all three cases, court records show.
Officer James Nicholson was charged with DWI and illegal handgun carrying in late January.
Nicholson, who is free on bail in both cases, is due in court next March. It was suspended indefinitely by SAPD this summer.
Officer Dezi Rios, who has a documented history of road rage, resigned from SAPD last month as he faced charges of a hit-and-run accident this summer.
Rios, 39, had been suspended without pay following the July crash, in which he was accused of fleeing the scene and then assaulting the driver of the vehicle he crashed into.
The man suffered a broken nose, significant trauma to his face and injuries to his shoulder, elbow and knee after being struck by Rios – according to the man’s count – between 20 and 25 times.
Rios faces pending charges from DWI and failure to arrest and provide information, but has not been criminally charged with assault, court records show.
Officer Marshall Shepard was suspended without pay in April after a grand jury charged him with assault and official oppression.
Shepard is accused of repeatedly punching a suspect in the face and injuring him after the man resisted arrest in May 2020.
Shepard is free on bail pending trial, records show.
City officials confirm Shepard remains suspended without pay.
Former SAPD officers Thomas Villarreal and Carlos Castro were charged last week, nearly two years after being charged with assaulting a man inside his home following an attempted traffic stop.
Villarreal and Castro, who were fired by SAPD in July 2020, face first-degree felony charges of aggravated assault by an official.
Arrests of deputies at the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office increased slightly this year, from 13 to 14, after sworn staff members were arrested on charges ranging from domestic violence to touching a cadet and sexual assault.
Deputy Gérard Mamorno was arrested in January for aggravated sexual assault on a child, after investigators said he sexually assaulted a 7-year-old girl several years ago.
Mamorno, who had worked intermittently for BCSO as a bailiff, resigned weeks after his arrest while he was still under administrative investigation. Mamorno is free on bail pending an indictment, according to court records.
Trial Assistant Abigail Colbert was fired in March after being charged with DWI.
The arrest of Colbert, the seventh of a BCSO deputy in the first 10 weeks of 2021, has enabled the agency to make more than 30 arrests this year. Arrests of deputies, however, occurred much less frequently thereafter.
Colbert’s charge was dismissed last month, after a quashing motion was granted in his case, court records show.
Danilo Molina, a jailer who had worked in the sheriff’s office for about 30 years, was charged in January with forging a government document.
Molina retired last year, shortly after a deputy told her supervisor Molina would ask inmates to check the cells, Sheriff Javier Salazar previously said.
As part of the alleged scheme, Molina is said to give her hand-held sensor to the inmate, who would use it during cell checks to show that an assistant was checking the cell. Molina would then falsify the records, indicating that he was checking the cells himself.
Molina pleaded without question in May, in exchange for two years of probation and payment of $ 1,355 in fines and court costs, according to court records.
Maverick MP Moreland was charged with assault, domestic violence and criminal mischief after an incident at a North Side bar in January involving another deputy on leave with whom he was dating.
Moreland, who was fired by BCSO in September, succeeded in having both criminal charges dismissed in late October.
Prosecutors cited insufficient evidence as the reason for the dismissal in the assault case, and the plaintiff withdrew prosecution in the criminal mischief case, records show.
Assistant BCSO Firearms Instructor Toribio Gutierrez was arrested in May for indecent assault and official oppression, after being accused of groping at least one cadet through her clothes during training.
Gutierrez also made inappropriate comments, asking the cadets for their personal information on social media, BCSO officials said.
When he was dismissed, Gutierrez reportedly replied, “You want to graduate, don’t you,” Sheriff Salazar said in May.
“This, frankly, is infuriating for me to hear,” Salazar said.
Since the launch of the investigation, Salazar said a total of five female cadets have come forward to report Gutierrez’s behavior.
Gutierrez, who is out on bail, is awaiting indictment in the official oppression case.
He is then due to appear in court in the indecent assault case in early February.
Gutierrez retired from BCSO at the end of June, while he was still under investigation by the agency.
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