SAN ANTONIO - Nearly one month after a firm completed its investigation into the complaints against Balcones Heights Police Chief Henry Dominguez, the results of the review were released.
The four-page report was made public on the same night council members voted 3-2 to uphold Dominguez's termination.
It cites the complaint filed by Officer Kenneth Ortiz. That document alleged he had numerous conversations with Dominguez expressing his concerns about Officer Julian Pesina's tattoos which he believed were gang-related.
KSAT-12 contacted a gang expert who identified some of Pesina's tattoos as those affiliated with the Texas Mexican Mafia gang. Pesina was murdered May 4, 2014, outside a tattoo shop he co-owned. Neither San Antonio police or the Federal Bureau of Investigation - both of whom are investigating the case - have denied the KSAT-12 report of Pesina's gang ties.
The Balcones Heights investigation of Ortiz's complaints concluded that while officers said they raised concerns about Pesina's tattoos, "no formal written requests for an investigation or any formal written complaints or concerns were made by any officer to Chief Dominguez or the City to investigate Pesina, prior to his death.
"Chief Dominguez stated that he had neither factual knowledge nor any suspicions of gang affiliation. The chief admitted, however, that the 'pretty boy' officers in the department raised concerns about Officer Pesina's tattoos being 'gang like.' The chief did not feel that these concerns were specific enough to warrant investigation and that instead these officers were unjustifiably picking on Pesina's appearance.
"The chief admitted that he had other concerns about Officer Pesina besides his tattoos. He believed that Officer Pesina had lost enthusiasm for his work, was not maintaining his uniform and continued to be defiant with regard to policies and procedures. The chief along with another supervising officer met with Pesina in April 2014 regarding his annual review. At this meeting, the chief questioned Pesina's appearance, including his uniform and his growing tattoos. The chief claims that he advised Pesina that he needed to figure out whether he wanted to continue to be a police officer."
The report concluded, "After review of the complaint and based on the interviews of the officers and Chief Dominguez, it is evident that Chief Dominguez was made aware by numerous officers of concerns regarding Officer Pesina's 'questionable' and 'gang-like' tattoos and that no action was taken to investigate. However, tattoos were not against department policy, nor was Dominguez ever provided any evidence or written complaint that Officer Pesina was affiliated with any gang."
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