SAN ANTONIO – Surveillance video provided to the KSAT 12 Defenders shows a city of San Antonio TV and video producer throw down and kick a man during an attack near City Hall in late February.
Carlos Berlanga, who has worked for the city since 2013, is seen on camera talking with the man before grabbing him by the throat, throwing him to the ground, holding him down, throwing him down a second time and then kicking him in the midsection.
The Feb. 23 incident, which happened outside a row of city offices on the Plaza de Armas, lasted more than 20 seconds, according to security footage handed over by city officials following a request from the KSAT 12 Defenders earlier this year.
Berlanga was later suspended for 10 days and ordered to go through an anger-management program.
The victim, who KSAT is not naming, told a police dispatcher shortly after the incident that Berlanga attacked him after he cursed at the city employee and told him he did not need help retrieving his property from inside a city building that could only be accessed using a work badge.
"He just turned around, grabbed my neck, choked me, kicked me, started choking me twice. He beat me up," said the man during one of several calls he made to 911 after the attack.
The men did not know one another before the attack, according to records.
Berlanga, in a written statement about the attack, said that the man repeatedly cursed at him and threatened to beat him up after Berlanga asked him if he needed help.
Berlanga also wrote that he saw the man pulling "something approximately 5-6 inches long and shiny or metallic" from a bag he was carrying.
The victim is just off camera in both angles of footage when Berlanga grabbed him.
"This was a difficult issue, for sure, and we put a lot of thought into how we handled it," said Jeff Coyle, the city's director of government and public affairs and Berlanga's boss.
"That is not OK. We have a very strict zero-tolerance against any workplace violence. We will not accept physical violence in the workplace."
City records show officials placed Berlanga on paid administrative leave the next working day following the incident and later proposed terminating him after an investigation determined that he had committed "a bonafide (sic) act of workplace violence."
However, the punishment was later shortened to a 10-day suspension as part of an agreement that includes anger-management courses and a last chance-agreement.
A San Antonio Police Department spokeswoman said the criminal investigation has been closed "due to lack of cooperation from the complainant in the case."
Berlanga was not criminally charged.
The victim, who has a very lengthy criminal history in Bexar County, said during one of the 911 calls that he did not fight back because of his record.
"He can't beat me up like that and get away with it. I didn't (expletive) touch him," the man told a dispatcher.
The man was later given a criminal trespass warning, barring him from City Hall and the offices near the site of the incident.
He did not respond to repeated requests for comment from the Defenders for this story.
Coyle said the physical altercation was out of character for Berlanga.
"No matter what the individual said, how insulting or offensive it was, you have to walk away from that kind of situation," Coyle said.