SVU detective who failed to investigate rape cases fired, again; 1 other officer terminated
Department also suspended 4 others in January
SAN ANTONIO – Two months after the San Antonio Police Department fired a detective who, it said, did not properly investigate more than 130 sex crimes cases assigned to him, Kenneth Valdez received a second indefinite suspension from a separate investigation.
Documents obtained by The Defenders show Valdez was given the additional disciplinary action Jan. 9.
The new indefinite suspension stems from incidents that occurred before it was discovered Valdez was not investigating sex crimes cases assigned to him.
The notice said Valdez disobeyed orders and did not have permission to engage in outside employment. Specifically, it said:
- Valdez worked off duty in uniform at the Pearl Brewery on three dates between July 14 and Aug. 8 "without the written permission of the Chief of Police."
- While on administrative duty, "Detective Valdez was advised he was specifically prohibited from engaging in any off-duty or outside employment which required the wearing of a police uniform or extension of police services." Police learned Valdez was working security at an apartment complex.
- Valdez was given a no contact order Aug. 21, directing him not to contact or communicate with a particular woman at any time, whether Valdez was on or off-duty (the woman's identity was redacted from the paperwork). "Detective Valdez admits to continuing contact with (the woman) to include sharing an apartment with her and communicating several days via telephone," the document said.
Valdez was initiallly fired after the department learned in October that he had not properly investigated cases assigned to him in the Special Victims Unit, which includes sex crimes.
Those cases were assigned to other detectives. An audit of SVU led to changes including requiring a supervisor to close a case and streamlining the paperwork in those investigations. A full review is expected later this month.
The San Antonio Police Department fired another officer last month for off-duty behavior. Officer Javier Perales received an indefinite suspension without pay after the department found over the course of nine months he "sent personal photographs" obtained from a cellphone and "inappropriate photographs through text messaging and Facebook" to someone.
The department suspended the following four officers in January:
- Officer Mathew Nowak, 25 day suspension held in abeyance for one year. The department said Nowak initiated 10 calls to a nursing home as a personal favor to a friend. "These calls were some type of civil dispute," the document said. Nowak also "created body worn camera recordings in patient care areas of the nursing home," which violates the Police Department's rules for use of the cameras. "The calls were a personal favor to a friend of Officer Nowak, thus (he was) using the body worn camera for personal activities," the document said. It also said that after eight of the calls, Nowak "terminated his body worn camera, relating that the call was over, but failed to notify the dispatcher of his return to service."
- Officer Jordan Ramirez, 3-day suspension without pay. Ramirez brought a personally owned AR-15 rifle to the Street Crimes Unit office on Nov. 1. "Officer Ramirez mishandled his rifle and an accidental discharge occurred," the document said. A bullet fragment or flying debris left one officer with a minor injury.
- Probationary Officer Laurence Levi, 1-day suspension without pay. Levi was on duty Nov. 24 when he took a Police Department vehicle that was not assigned to him. After a dispatcher sent a message through the vehicle's laptop ordering him to exchange the vehicle for the one assigned to him, "Probationary Officer Levi refused to do so until another officer explained the regulations dealing with assigned vehicles," the document said.
- Probationary Officer Julissa Bryant, 1-day suspension held in abeyance for one year. Bryant struck a fire hydrant while onduty in a city owned-vehicle.
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