Fired chief deputy constable, Anthony Castillo, jumped into the race for constable of Precinct 2. Castillo played a central part in many of the scandals that then Constable Michelle Barrientes-Vela became embroiled in. Castillo was one of the officers who signed up for training classes, paid for with taxpayer dollars, who didn’t bother to attend the training. He was the officer who said that he smelled marijuana which resulted in a citizen being given a blood draw without first obtaining a warrant. There was no marijuana.
The problem with people who are either willing to bend/ignore the rules and laws, or are incompetent in their position, is once those people get a taste of power they can’t give it up. It’s like a drug for them. They keep chasing it no matter how ridiculous their attempts are. Michelle Barrientes-Vela is a perfect example. She was the main figure in that Keystone Kops soap opera that was going on at Precinct 2. And calling them Keystone Kops is being generous. That old show was about inept officers. The things that were going on at Precinct 2 had a much darker undertone.
The Lies Have Already Started
In reading the KSAT 12 article, a couple of things caught my attention. According to the article, regarding Castillo being fired, “Castillo said his termination last week was part of the normal process that takes place for administration with no civil service protection when the elected official they work for leaves office.” That’s just flat out a lie and I’m surprised Dillon Collier didn’t call him on it. Maybe that comment made Dillon more determined to dig into the termination so he left it alone for now.
Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz’s chief deputy was Manuel Longoria. When Susan Pamerleau beat Sheriff Ortiz, she not only kept Chief Longoria but she kept him in the position of chief deputy. Sheriff Pamerleau had Chief Ottis Hutchinson as her chief financial officer. When Javier Salazar beat Pamerleau he kept Mr. Hutchinson in that position but changed his title to Director.
It is not a normal process for the out-going elected official to fire their appointed staff. The staff has the option of resigning or waiting to see if the incoming administration will keep them. If any firing is done, it’s the new administration firing people from the old administration. This whole thing with Castillo and Barrientes-Vela has the feel of two conspirators falling out, with the one having more power saying you’re fired and the other saying fine, but if you say anything bad about me I’m going to spill the beans about you. At least that’s how it comes across to me.
The second thing that caught my attention in the article is the quote Castillo made. “Our community needs transparency.” I agree! So tell us the real reason you were fired. And while you’re at it, tells us the truth about all the other bull that put Precinct 2 in the news for the last two years.