A Bexar County Deputy was arrested for DWI. On Thursday, September 13th, Deputy Joseph H. Martinez crashed into the back of an 18-wheeler in the Selma area. Selma police smelled alcohol and placed Martinez under arrest. Martinez had already been on administrative leave for prior infractions.
Martinez makes the 19th deputy to have been arrested in the last 8 1/2 months. Sheriff Salazar gave a long press conference to try to save face for his administration but in my opinion it fell flat. While there were some good things he has done such as bringing in a staff psychologist position and increasing the breadth of the background checks there were other areas that did not add up.
For example, Martinez had been through two hazing incidents and two assault incidents before this DWI. The Sheriff said he was constrained from terminating Martinez due to various things like Civil Service and the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I understand that. My concern is that after the first assault on an inmate and while they were waiting for the disciplinary action to go through, why didn’t they put him in an area where he did not have contact with inmates? Why put him back into that same situation allowing him to assault additional inmates?
I would feel more comfortable if an officer’s charge was a DWI and he was placed back in a position of watching inmates rather than someone who has already proven he has violent tendencies.
When asked why Martinez hadn’t been fired before the Sheriff said he wasn’t fired for the DWI but was fired for the history of problems leading up to and including the DWI. Salazar had already said that four criminal charges were filed on May 20th for the incidents involved in the second assault. That still left a history of two hazing incidents and an assault. It seems to me that multiple charges plus the history should have been more than enough to fire this officer yet he didn’t. Had Salazar fired Martinez when the charges were filed this person would just be another member of the public instead of a deputy who got arrested and gave the Sheriff’s Office another black eye.
It seemed to me that there was a lot of misdirection going on. Attempts were made to blame this whole mess on constraints rather than facing the fact that poor decisions were made. Salazar tried to turn this into a positive situation for himself by insinuating that the arrests were due to undercover sting operations by his public integrity unit but a review of the arrests shows they are outright arrests for infractions such as DWIs or due to the victim reporting the incident.
It does seem that the media bought into his stories. One reporter claimed that he was attacked (I’m assuming he meant verbally) by officers for publishing the arrest of officers. The reporter claimed the officers did not like Salazar’s transparency. I would like to remind everyone that the Sheriff’s Office has the video of the hazing incident where a Taser was used and has never released it. I know that video is out there because this publication had a copy sent to us at the time of the incident. We made the decision not to release it for our own reasons but what is stopping Sheriff Salazar from doing so?
One final thing that bothered me was his comment about how maybe (note the qualifier) some people feel that the termination was excessive. This comment had the familiar, earie ring of Trump’s, “many people are saying…” And I trusted Salazar’s comment just as much as I trust Trump’s, which is not at all.