Officer indefinitely suspended from SAPD fighting for job back

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio police officer with a history of disciplinary problems is fighting to get his job back one year after he was handed an indefinite suspension by Chief William McManus.

West patrol officer Juan Delgado was essentially fired for three infractions that happened in the span of a few months in 2015. The officer's alleged behavioral problems led some of his supervisors to conclude that he's not fit to be an SAPD officer.

One of Delgado's alleged violations happened in November 2015, when he got into a heated argument with a supervisor at the scene of a traffic accident. The brief exchange between Delgado and the sergeant was captured on both officers' in-car cameras.

According to SAPD Internal Affairs documents obtained by the Defenders, the sergeant accused Delgado of being insubordinate when he refused to follow orders. The sergeant told Delgado to get out of his patrol vehicle and direct traffic.

The sergeant claimed that Delgado got out of his truck and started "charging toward me in an aggressive manner." At one point, the officers were chest-to-chest shouting at each other.

According to a transcript of the in-car camera recording, Delgado shouted, "You don't need to be yelling at me! You don't need to be yelling at me like I'm a kid!"

The sergeant told investigators that Delgado "put his right hand on my chest, and I immediately told him, 'Don't put your hand on me!' When he failed to take his hands off me, I pushed his hand off me."

The sergeant then ordered Delgado to leave the scene and return to the substation.

According to the Internal Affairs documents, the sergeant had served as one of Delgado's supervisors for the past eight years and had "either handled or been aware of several incidents" involving Delgado. He said he had attempted to "advise, counsel and guide Officer Delgado on many occasions, but despite our efforts, these problems (kept) coming up."

Other supervisors who had worked with Delgado also told Internal Affairs investigators that they had similar problems managing Delgado and his "aggressive attitude and demeanor." One lieutenant writing about the incident between Delgado and the sergeant said, "Delgado's behavior in this situation is completely unacceptable, and I have serious concerns that he possesses behavioral deficiencies and aggression issues and he is not fit to be a San Antonio Police Officer."

Delgado was put on administrative duty for the incident and sent to a desk job. He was even banned from wearing his uniform and told not to work any off-duty jobs.

Even so, Delgado continued to work security at a local restaurant in full uniform for a month before he admitted he hadn't been following orders, which was the second violation.

Delgado's troubles go back further. In September 2015, he was investigated by Internal Affairs for a Facebook post which showed a picture of an SAPD officer pointing a gun at a home with the caption: "One week they love me next week they hate me. Both weeks I got paid."

In the comments below the photo, Delgado appeared to brag about being suspended in the past.

In 2009, Delgado was placed on administrative duty after being indicted and arrested on an assault charge for allegedly going too far in punishing his son, but that case was thrown out.

In 2014, Delgado and two other SAPD officers were named in a federal lawsuit that accused them of using excessive force in a 2012 arrest of a pregnant woman who claimed that she lost her baby as a result of their actions. That case was dismissed last October.

In the Internal Affairs documents, Delgado dismissed the Facebook post as friends joking with each other, and he claimed that the sergeant he argued with at the traffic accident was the aggressor in that incident.

Delgado is appealing his termination through arbitration, which is the next step in his attempt to get his job back. His attorney called the termination "excessive" and believes the arbitration process will give Delgado a fair chance to tell his side of the story.

Should Delgado get his job back, SAPD would have to pay him for the time he was suspended without pay.

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