On Wednesday, July 24th, San Antonio Police Officer Tim Garcia, went to an arbitration hearing to try to get his job back. Officer Garcia was terminated in January of this year after his body cam captured him repeatedly referring to a black man by the N-word, even going so far as to say he was being arrested because he was a N-word.
Officer Garcia’s attorney says the termination was too harsh. He seems to think that just because Officer Garcia admits his actions were wrong that those actions should be overlooked. Supposedly Officer Garcia feels he deserves punishment but we’re not sure what kind of punishment since they feel he should get all back pay and benefits he has lost during the time he has been terminated. I guess a slap on the wrist and a finger waved in his face saying “naughty boy” is sufficient in their eyes.
How many of the rest of us, while doing our job, could repeatedly call a black person the N-word and think nothing should happen to us? Unless you own the business, odds are you would be fired, and rightly so. But it seems police feel they should be held to a lower standard than the rest of the working population. That’s actually the opposite of what it should be. When you have the capability to disrupt someone’s life to the extent an officer can, you have an enormous amount of responsibility on your shoulders. You should have a HIGHER standard of conduct than the general public, not a lower one.
Officer Garcia was with the police force for 19 years. You’re supposed to be getting better as you progress through your career, not worse. It is imperative that the police portray themselves as unbiased so that the community at large can have faith in them. Officer Garcia’s actions are not only a reflection on him, those actions cause the public to lose faith in the police which hurts every officer trying to do his or her job.
The final insult in this hearing is the attorney for Officer Garcia saying that Chief McManus is only doing this because of the media. The media informs the public. McManus is doing this because he knows the PUBLIC will not find this acceptable and we are, after all, the taxpayers who pay their wages. It’s not the media, it’s WE THE PEOPLE who demand that police officers act with professionalism. McManus has a responsibility to ensure that the people they serve retain confidence in the police department.
We stand with McManus on his termination decision. Police should face a higher standard of accountability than the general public. Under no circumstances should it be a lower level of accountability. But we’ve all seen how these things go. Odds are high this officer will get his job back and the problems will continue. And the taxpayers of Bexar County will foot the bill for the lawsuits.
You can see the video and read the KSAT 12 article here.