Former jail guard sentenced to prison for assaulting prisoner

Avery Lawrence given 1-year sentence, fine of $4,000

SAN ANTONIO – A former Bexar County Jail guard was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $4,000 on Thursday after his conviction last fall on charges of official oppression, assault and civil rights violations.

Avery Lawrence, who was working as a detention officer at the Bexar County Jail’s annex in the summer of 2014, was involved in a bloody altercation with inmate John Cory Garcia.

Garcia suffered a broken rib, a punctured lung and head injuries.

During a sentencing hearing on Thursday, a captain at the jail testified for the state.

“My opinion, based upon the reports that I’ve reviewed and everything, is that he is a bad officer,” Capt. Timothy Walston testified.

Other guards recalled witnessing confrontations between Lawrence and other inmates.

“He kicked Mr. Lawrence in the chest, and then Mr. Lawrence put him in a chokehold,” former guard Julian Ramos told the court about an incident at the jail.

Defense witnesses painted a different picture of Lawrence.

“I observed Mr. Lawrence as a very great officer,” Sgt. Johnny Campos testified.

Before sentencing Lawrence, Judge Melisa Skinner said: “The people we deal with, no matter what they’re accused of, are human beings, and as such they do deserve respect.”

Lawrence has been in jail since his conviction last November and will get credit for that time applied to his sentence.

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