SAPD: Suspended officer refused to track down sex offender near kids

Officer Erik Rodriguez suspended for 45 days

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio police officer served a 45-day suspension last year after an internal affairs investigation uncovered repeated instances of rules being broken while on duty, including the officer's refusal to find a convicted sex offender who was near children, authorities said.

Officer Erik Rodriguez, an 11-year veteran of the San Antonio Police Department and a field training officer, was given a contemplated indefinite suspension in June 2016. 

The suspension was shortened to 45 days in July after Rodriguez met with Chief William McManus, according to suspension paperwork obtained last month by the KSAT 12 Defenders.

The internal affairs investigation determined that Rodriguez failed to file formal reports on at least nine incidents that occurred between late February and early March last year.

In one incident -- a domestic disturbance call in the 100 block of San Horacio -- Rodriguez failed to write a report even after two children inside the home said their mother's live-in boyfriend had punched her and pulled her hair. 

The father of the woman was also accused of charging at the boyfriend with a knife.

Neither man was taken into custody and neither incident was included in the officer's notes.

He eventually "N-coded" the call, meaning he put an automatic computerized designation on the incident and left the scene.

Audio from a body microphone worn by Rodriguez included comments from the boyfriend in which he expressed surprise that no one was going to jail.

Rodriguez is heard on the audio telling the man, "It's going to be your word against his" and saying that the case would not go anywhere.

An internal affairs investigator later told Rodriguez that the department believed there had been enough evidence to charge both men in connection with the incident.

Rodriguez is repeatedly heard on his own microphone counseling the distraught woman and her family about how to get her boyfriend legally removed from the home, at one point telling the woman, "Make reports. Make reports, and I think after a couple, maybe two or three, you can go make a restraining order where he has to stay away from your residence."

Rodriguez told an internal affairs investigator that children have been known to lie about domestic altercations.

Police records indicate that a week later, Rodriguez refused to track down a convicted sex offender after a 911 caller said the man was near children in the 200 block of Florencia.

Rodriguez was given the man's name, description and direction of flight, but simply drove past the address, "N-coded" the call and made no effort to contact the caller, according to SAPD records.

"They didn't want to be contacted, so I didn't contact anybody," Rodriguez said when he was asked by internal affairs about the incident.

The sex offender was later identified as Onesimo Cordero.

Weeks before the incident, Cordero had signed a felony plea deal for indecency with a child.

Court records show that prosecutors accused Cordero of committing 21 sexual assaults against four young girls from the mid-1990's to 2007.

Cordero at one point kidnapped a witness and drove her to Mexico to keep her from testifying during his trial, according to district court files.

According to district court records obtained by the Defenders, Cordero had direct contact with children on the night Rodriguez had been dispatched to find him.

A district judge revoked Cordero's probation in August, and he is currently serving 180 days in jail.

Other violations by Rodriguez during the two-week period included:

  • Failing to use COBAN dash camera on 18 calls
  • "N-coding" eight calls that should have generated reports
  • Failing to arrest four people whom he had pulled over and who had outstanding warrants
  • Giving three courtesy rides without a supervisor's approval

During questioning by internal affairs, Rodriguez offered little explanation for his on-duty behavior, but acknowledged that he could have provided more details for some of the emergency calls.

McManus declined a request for an interview for this story.

An SAPD spokesperson released the following statement:

"After a thorough review of the allegations and a meeting with the accused officer, the Chief determined that the 45 day suspension was an appropriate punishment. The officer agreed to the suspension and the discipline was finalized."