VIDEO: Sheriff’s deputy under investigation for allegedly hitting handcuffed teen while off-duty
Deputy Abigail Rios already on administrative duty over a different incident
SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: For more on this developing story, including more from the home surveillance footage and reaction from the juvenile and the 17-year-old’s mother, watch Wednesday’s Nightbeat at 10 p.m. on KSAT 12.
A Bexar County deputy who was placed on administrative duty Monday evening for her involvement in a police pursuit of a stolen vehicle is also being investigated by the agency for allegedly assaulting a 17-year-old suspect on January 1 while she was off duty. Video of the incident was captured on a home surveillance system and obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders.
Read more from the Defenders: Video of officer-involved shooting appears to contradict San Antonio police chief’s initial claims
Deputy Abigail Rios and Deputy Raul Maldonado, both off-duty, were involved in the arrest of two teens after they say they caught them breaking into vehicles in their far West Side neighborhood, according to a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office incident report.
The report states Rios called 911 around 3:22 a.m. to report her neighbor’s vehicle “had just been burglarized by two unknown males.”
When the responding deputy arrived, he saw Rios “holding down one of the male subjects.”
That suspect was a 16-year-old boy who was “detained in handcuffs and secured in the back seat” of a patrol vehicle that belonged to an on-duty deputy who responded to the 911 call.
The incident report says the 16-year-old suspect was then questioned and that he eventually identified the other suspect as 17-year-old David Rodriguez, who lived just a few streets away.
It also says that Rios mentioned that Maldonado was “chasing the other male subject on foot” but she was not sure if he had been caught.
When they arrived to the 17-year-old’s home, the on-duty deputy “observed David Rodriguez laying partially under a vehicle parked in the driveway” of his home and he was detained.
What the incident report does not detail is what was captured on the home video surveillance at Rodriguez’s home.
The video obtained by the Defenders shows the responding on-call deputy walking back to the patrol vehicle with Rodriguez in handcuffs and a man and woman, believed to be the off-duty deputies Rios and Maldonado, hovering nearby.
Rodriguez is placed on his knees near the vehicle as Rios paces back and forth, appearing agitated.
Suddenly she approaches Rodriguez and appears to yell in his face. Then she appears to hit him in the face with her hand.
Seconds later, the male, believed to be off-duty deputy Maldonado, appears to grab Rodriguez by the hair and slam his head against the side of the patrol vehicle before standing him up. The responding on-duty deputy does not appear to intervene and then places Rodriguez in the back of the patrol vehicle as the two off-duty deputies walk out of view of the camera. Rodriguez was charged with burglary of a vehicle.
Despite being aware of the video and the alleged assault since Jan. 1, BCSO did not remove Rios from her patrol duties until this week.
A spokesman for BCSO confirmed that Rios is under investigation by the agency’s Internal Affairs and Public Integrity Units and has been placed on administrative duty. Deputies Maldonado and Arredondo are still on patrol pending the outcome of the review of the incident, the spokesperson said.
“The incident on January 1, 2020, is currently under investigation by Internal Affairs and the Public Integrity Unit. Although we cannot discuss specifics about the case, Deputy Rios has been placed on Administrative Duty pending further review of this incident and another unrelated incident," a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said.
The “unrelated incident” is a police pursuit that Rios was a part of on Monday, Jan. 27. During the chase, the suspect’s vehicle sideswiped a four-door sedan with two elderly occupants, officials said. They did not suffer major injuries. Finally, the fleeing car crashed and the suspect was arrested by Rios for car theft.
A few hours later, she was placed on administrative duty.
A spokesperson said that the incident is under review because Rios potentially violated BCSO policy regarding pursuits.
The Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Bexar County said Rios was just doing her job and that she had permission to pursue the suspect from a supervisor.
“She pulls him over. When she pulls the guy over … the guy is sitting on the side of the road. He takes off, and then (Rios) says, '(Sergeant) what do I do? And he says, ‘Go after him,’” said Jeremy Payne, president of the local deputy union.
The suspect was taken into custody outside of Bexar County in Atascosa County.
BCSO issued the following statement in response to the pursuit:
“The Patrol Deputy involved in yesterday’s pursuit has been placed on Administrative Duty - which is not discipline - due to an ongoing administrative review of her recent pursuit that involved a crash and minor injuries to some of the occupants. This is coupled with an unrelated incident that has resulted in ongoing investigations by the Internal Affairs and Public Integrity Units.”
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