Balcones Heights police chief fired
Henry Dominguez had been on paid leave since May
SAN ANTONIO – After spending the past five weeks on paid administrative leave, the chief of the Balcones Heights Police Department was fired by the city administrator Tuesday.
The city terminated Henry Dominguez following a lengthy internal investigation regarding a complaint filed against him by one of his officers.
"We had to come to a difficult decision, but I support our city administrator's decision to terminate the chief 100 percent," said Mayor Suzanne De Leon at a news conference.
Dominguez had been sidelined since May 27 when Officer Kenneth Ortiz filed a complaint against Dominguez alleging he and other officers had warned the chief that fellow Officer Julian Pesina had "questionable" and "gang-like" tattoos and that "no action was taken" by the chief to investigate.
Pesina was shot to death by two masked gunmen in early May as he left a tattoo shop he co-owned.
Investigators have been trying to determine if Pesina was murdered by gang members and if he had personal ties to the Texas Mexican Mafia.
In the termination letter, City Administrator Amy Buckert wrote that the chief informed city leaders that he was "unaware of any concerns about Officer Pesina being gang-affiliated prior to his death. The investigation revealed that this statement was not true."
Based on the findings of the investigation and taking into account past complaints and reprimands, Buckert wrote she had lost confidence in the chief's ability to lead the department.
Buckert wrote, "Based on a history of poor leadership in the department, your inaction in addressing concerns about Officer Pesina and my lack of confidence in your abilities to lead the department, I am hereby terminating your employment with the City of Balcones Heights, effective July 1, 2014."
Dominguez has categorically denied the allegations against him and his attorney plans to appeal the decision.
Mark Anthony Sanchez sent a letter to the city stating his client will appeal the termination and will ask the City Council to reinstate the chief and is requesting a public hearing.
"You can bet your bottom dollar we're going to request that in full public because Chief Dominguez has nothing to hide," Sanchez said. "The folks that are behind this termination letter and these false and malicious statements are going to have to get up in public and stand by what they said."
That appeal will be heard at the next City Council meeting which is slated for July 28.
It will be up to the five City Council members to determine if the chief's termination will be upheld or if he'll be reinstated.
If that vote ends up in a tie, the mayor said she will vote to uphold the termination.
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