Harassment and Intimidation by Constable
Michelle Barrientes-Vela may be out of office but she is not out of the news. KSAT 12 continues to do an outstanding job in their investigative reporting. Their latest story relates to the ex-constable’s adult son and the abuse of her office to protect him. On February 28, Michelle Barrientes-Vela went to a Family Dollar on Zarzamora Street, to confront the manager of the store. A couple of hours earlier the manager had recognized Barrientes-Vela’s son as a person who had shoplifted from the store before and ordered the individual to leave.
Apparently the adult son went to his mother to complain with the result of then Constable Barrientes-Vela showing up in full uniform. Barrientes-Vela then called for backup to further intimidate the female manager of the store. More constables arrived in response to the call and it appears that at least two of them proceeded to aggressively interrogate the store manager, trying to get her to change her story and wanting to know why she had not filed a police report regarding the theft.
Constable’s Son Accused of Stealing Shoes and Deoderant
According to the police report that KSAT was able to obtain, the manager accused Barrientes-Vela’s son of previously stealing shoes and deodorant. When she saw him come in again, she told him to leave. The store manager claimed there was video of the incident but that she would have to contact the corporate office.
According to the article, “Once on the scene, the supervisor who wrote the report was told that Barrientes Vela’s son wanted to file a complaint against the store’s manager for accusing him of shoplifting.” In other words, an official complaint had not been made yet. The supervisor didn’t even know that a complaint was being made. He had to be told. They were not in the process of investigating a crime. They were called there to intimidate this poor woman and it seems to have worked.
The store manager resigned in the summer which would have been not long after this incident. Granted, Family Dollar does not pay much, she could have left for a better job, but the woman had put in enough time to rise to the ranks of manager. It seems very coincidental for her to leave so soon after this incident.
Abuse of Office
The incident with the store manager is not the normal way an investigation of this type would have been carried out, if one was done at all. And don’t forget, the version we are hearing is from what the officers, who were working at the direction of Barrientes-Vela, wrote down and it still sounds this bad. I wonder what the lady involved would say really happened.
This is by far, not the first time that Michelle Barrientes-Vela has apparently abused the authority of her office. We didn’t even write anything on the one where she sent her deputies to Deputy Leonicio Moreno’s house, after he had called in sick, to confiscate his weapon in an attempt to make it appear that he was unstable. Moreno is the deputy that filed to run against Barrientes-Vela and who she proceeded to have arrested. Those actions are currently being investigated by state and federal authorities. You can read the KSAT article about this incident here.
And don’t forget when she used her office as a private police force to search for a vehicle that had been stolen from her husband’s car lot. She even went outside of her jurisdictional boundaries for that one. Read that story here. It’s hard to imagine that this woman will be able to avoid a jail cell.