SAN ANTONIO – Two Bexar County sheriff deputies were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday in connection with a disturbance involving a jail inmate, Sheriff Javier Salazar said.
Joseph Anthony Hernandez, 26, and Michael Gomez, 30, who has since resigned, are charged with official oppression.
“While is it a certainly a sad situation, I am pleased with how several of our deputies and investigators have conducted themselves in this investigation,” Salazar said.
Salazar said that in June, one of the deputies struck an inmate with a stick several times while he was lying on the floor. As the inmate was being taken away, the other deputy hit the inmate in the face, Salazar said.
“People are entrusted to our custody, and they won't be treated in this manner,” Salazar said. “We won't stand for it.”
The incident was reported by other deputies to the Public Integrity Unit for investigation.
After Gomez and Hernandez were placed on administrative duty, they retaliated against the deputies who reported the disturbance, Salazar said.
“There were verbal threats reported from them,” Salazar said. “One of the deputies was assigned to master control, where he was able to control elevators and doors in the facility. And at one point, it appears he shut a door on one of the officers that he suspected of reporting him.”
Gomez, who was hired in October 2014, resigned from the agency Jan. 31, Salazar said.
Hernandez, who was hired in January 2016, remains on administrative leave.
Warrants were issued for the pair's arrest, and they surrendered to authorities Wednesday.
Salazar said while Gomez was on administrative duty, he and several other deputies were accused of participating in the hazing of a fellow deputy at a house party last year. But no charges were filed because of insufficient evidence.
“This last incident is why I wanted more body cameras for our deputies,” Salazar said. “This incident was one of the major factors that went into getting more cameras for our guys, because, unfortunately, at that time, we didn’t have them.”