BEXAR COUNTY, Texas - Security personnel in Bexar County courtrooms must be prepared for anything because “no two days are created equal, especially in court,” according to Deputy Chief of Court Security Aristides Jimenez, who works for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department.
“Day to day, we have a matrix, a security matrix, where we make sure we're protecting the judge, the prosecutors, the jury and the defendant, because that's the reason why we have a judicial system,” he said.
Security reviews the cases on the docket each day, trying to anticipate what could be coming and whether the case and the players involved could require extra security.
"When we have a trial going or a sentencing or a family member is going to address the court, we take into consideration the type of case, the type of accusation, what emotions it could bring," Jimenez said.
How people act on those emotions can be unpredictable, as was the case Friday morning in a Michigan courtroom when a distraught father charged at former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar after the father’s two daughters read aloud victim impact statements in court detailing how Nassar sexually abused them.
The father asked the judge if he could have five minutes with Nassar. The judge replied no.
The father then asked if he could have one minute with Nassar. Again, the judge told him no. That’s when the father charged at Nassar and was tackled by court security officers and handcuffed.
The man later apologized for the attempted assault, and the judge said she would not punish him.
“Every day, we expect an outburst by the defendant. We expect an outburst by a family member. We expect somebody trying to escape,” Jimenez said.
In some trials at the courthouse, security officers are even seated in the gallery wearing plain clothes, blending in with the crowd in case they’re needed.
“We’re always leaning forward, preparing for the worst but hoping for the best," Jimenez said.
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