80ºF

Uvalde leaders discuss whistleblower suit filed by fired sergeant

Armando Garcia claims he was fired for bringing to light allegations against deputy

UVALDE, Texas – For the first time, county commissioners on Monday discussed a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a former Uvalde County Sheriff's Department employee.

County leaders were informed that the county had been served with the suit behind closed doors during an executive session of Commissioners Court.

"It puts everything in motion, as far as the county is concerned," said Uvalde County Judge William Mitchell. "We're responding to the suit. The attorneys will then have some kind of conversation among themselves and we'll see how the suit proceeds."

Armando Garcia, a former sergeant investigator with the Uvalde County Sheriff's Office, filed suit against Uvalde County and Sheriff Charles Mendeke last week, alleging Mendeke fired Garcia in April because he brought forth information he received from a tip that a fellow deputy was seen using drugs in a local bar.

It's a story KSAT 12 first reported on Wednesday.

According to the suit, Garcia had information the same deputy tampered with evidence.

Garcia claims he brought the information to Mendeke and Mendeke told him to "drop it."

Garcia is suing the county because county commissioners "ratified Sheriff Mendeke's decision to terminate Mr. Garcia."

Outside the courthouse Monday, a handful of supporters of Garcia held signs that read "stop police corruption" and "we support Armando Garcia."

"We're, like, really excited and hopeful for not just us, but other members of the community to be treated fairly," said Raquel Cardona.

"I've received hundreds and hundreds of phone calls, text messages, people stopping by my house -- from out-of-town but mostly in-town -- thanking me for what I'm doing: stepping forward on corruption," Garcia said.

Mitchell said the county's insurance carrier has assigned San Antonio attorney Charles Frigerio to handle the county's response to the suit.

KSAT 12 tried to reach Mendeke for comment again Monday but was told he was unavailable. According to Garcia's attorney, Mendeke has not yet responded to the suit and has several more weeks to do so.  


About the Author: