2 supervisors reassigned as fallout from murdered inmate continues

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist, Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Two supervisors within the Bexar County Sheriff's Office have been reassigned after the murder of an inmate last week, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office confirmed to the KSAT 12 Defenders on Saturday.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Johnny Garcia confirmed that Capt. Edward McCrea and Lt. Ramiro Balarin were reassigned from the classification section after a review of the classification process following the murder of inmate Alexander Wise revealed that "standards were not being met."

Sheriff Javier Salazar said Wise, 29, was "believed" to be a former member of a white supremacist gang and was beaten to death May 30 by his cellmate, Shandrick Van Anthony Buckley.

Despite Buckley being an African American man and Wise having a history of being in a white supremacist gang, Salazar said during a press conference the day of Wise's death that jail staff did not consider them to be incapable of being housed in a cell together. 

During the press conference, Salazar explained that the jail has a classification system in place that alerts detention officers to possible conflicts between inmates, such as involvement in the same cases or possible conflicts that may have arisen during their time at the jail. He said that the system did not alert officers to any conflicts, adding that they were housed together in part because both had been involved in recent violent incidents at the jail.

McCrea and Balarin's reassignments bring the count to three jail staff members moved in the wake of Wise's apparent beating death. Detention officer Jose Briseno was also reassigned, the Sheriff's Office confirmed last week.

"The (Alexander) Wise incident prompted us to look deeper into the process of classification surrounding the incident. During that investigation, we identified that standards were not being met," Garcia said via phone Saturday. "As that (investigation) moved along, it prompted us to reassign those individuals who were not maintaining those standards."

Saturday's development is the first instance in which the Sheriff's Office has said that some jail staff did not comply with policies and procedures relating to Wise's murder. Last week, the Sheriff's Office declined to say whether Briseno's reassignment came from failure to adhere to policies and procedures and, immediately following Wise's death, Salazar said: "I don't know that anything was violated by having them together. They didn't show up to be incompatible inmates."

Salazar did, however, say that should the Sheriff's Office's investigation show that anyone deviated from procedures, he would hold them accountable. 

The Sheriff's Office did not expand on how exactly each detention center employee was involved with Wise's case, but said previously that classification officers typically interview inmates during the intake process, track ongoing trends within living facilities and assign inmates throughout the facility.

Garcia said Saturday, "There may be additional administrative sanctions in association with these failures to comply."

Buckley has been at the jail since September 2017 on suspicion of murdering another man by repeatedly stomping on the man's head. Wise was facing charges of theft, possession of a controlled substance, fraudulent use of identification and credit card abuse.

Salazar, who described Buckley as a "very violent individual," said detention deputies discovered Wise suffering from head and facial injuries after blood was seen flowing under the door of his and Buckley's cell. When deputies entered the cell, Buckley appeared to be asleep in his bed.

Buckley is now charged with capital murder in connection with Wise's death. The Texas Rangers are investigating the murder, Salazar said.

Buckley's attorney, Cleophus Marshall, requested a competency evaluation for Buckley on Thursday, which Judge Andrew Carruthers granted. Marshall said he has had difficulty communicating with Buckley and isn't sure Buckley understands the gravity of the situation. He also said it was "concerning on many, many levels" that his client was placed in the same cell as Wise.

"It should concern anyone with any level of reasonable apprehension of sensibility," Marshall said. "When you have someone who, like my client, is charged with murder and is an African American, having been placed in a cell with someone who has presented views of racism and prejudice against African Americans, and has held himself out to be such -- obviously, that's a problem. 

"We don't know what extent, if any, (racial implications) had to play in the incident that allegedly took place, but, you know, that's what trials are for. That's what the judicial system is for."

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