SAN ANTONIO – In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, two teens were allegedly caught breaking into cars in western Bexar County.
Moments after they were taken into custody, they claimed they were roughed up by off-duty Bexar County sheriff deputies, and home surveillance footage obtained by the Defenders appears to back up some of their story.
Now, their mothers want the deputies to face serious consequences for their alleged actions.
The video, recorded by Sara Medina’s home surveillance security system, includes footage of one of the teens appearing to be hit and shoved while in handcuffs.
The cameras appeared to capture the arrest of Medina’s 17-year-old son, David Rodriguez, around 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 1 in the 1400 block of Oriole Court.
In the video, an on-duty Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy is seen placing Rodriguez on his knees near a county patrol car with his arms handcuffed behind his back. The on-duty officer goes about his duties as two people hover nearby.
One of the figures, a woman later identified in the incident report as Deputy Abigail Rios, appeared to be very agitated as she paced back and forth.
Rios was one of two off-duty deputies who allegedly caught Rodriguez and his 16-year-old friend breaking into a neighbor’s vehicle, according to the incident report.
In the video, the woman rushed toward Rodriguez, seems to yell at him, and then hits him in the face with her hand.
Seconds later, a man who is also at the scene appears to grab Rodriguez’s hair and slam his head against the patrol vehicle.
The on-duty deputy does not seem to intervene but quickly places Rodriguez in the back of the patrol vehicle as the man and woman walk away and out of view of the camera.
Rios detained the 16-year-old teen while the on-duty responding deputy arrived, he told KSAT. The teen, who is not being named because he is a minor, described his version of events leading up to the arrest.
“She grabbed me by my bag and then put her leg behind my legs and threw me down onto my back,” he said. “Then, she got on top of me and had my hands against the ground and then, she put her knee against my chest.”
The teen claimed he was then attacked by a group of people who had followed Rios out of a nearby home.
“They came in and then they started stomping my face on this side here and then they started punching me,” the teen said. “And then after they beat me up, she tells them, ‘Okay, y’all have to leave because the cops are on their way.’”
The teen said he suffered minor injuries from the attack.
“Like the side of my face was swollen," he said. "I had like two black eyes. And then I had a cut on my ear.”
He was then placed in the back of the county patrol SUV and that Rios joined him, he said.
“She was saying, ‘Who is the other kid?’ Like, 'Tell me where the f--- he lives! Do it or I’m going to f---ing punch you,” the teen said.
According to the county incident report, he eventually confessed.
The second off-duty deputy, Raul Maldonado, chased Rodriguez on foot in the neighborhood, according to the incident report.
In the beginning of the home security video obtained by KSAT a man, believed to be Maldonado, is seen walking past Rodriguez’s house several times as a white SUV follows.
It also shows Rodriguez hiding on the side of the house and then in the driveway between two vehicles.
A BCSO patrol vehicle arrived in front of Rodriguez and Medina’s home.
The on-duty deputy, identified in the county report as A. Arredondo, gets out and seems to go around to the other side of the vehicle to let someone out. Then, Rios appeared.
The cameras partially captured Deputy Arredondo arresting Rodriguez and leading him back to the far-side patrol vehicle blocking the view of them.
The 16-year-old said he was still in the back seat of the vehicle and saw Rios hitting Rodriguez in the face, unseen by the camera.
“They brung him around by where my side was and I could see like, like I could see her punching like with her fist while he was handcuffed,” the teen said.
The deputies brought Rodriguez around to the near-side of the car and placed him on his knees, in full view of the home’s surveillance camera.
Medina said she was shocked when she saw the video of her son’s arrest.
"I was outraged. I was pacing back and forth. I was angry. I was hurt, " Medina said. “And for three officers, who are supposed to protect and serve, to violate my son’s rights that way and treat him as if he wasn’t human was very, very hard to deal with.”
Medina said she had no idea that night that her son and his friend had snuck out of the house and didn’t find out he was in jail until several hours later.
Rodriguez’s friend told Medina he witnessed the off-duty deputies punching Rodriguez. That prompted Medina to review home surveillance cameras to see if they caught anything.
After finding the footage, she contacted BCSO Internal Affairs investigators.
“So, within an hour, they were at my home. Internal Affairs was at my home. Also, criminal investigators were at my home,” Medina said. “They were shocked, I will say, by what they saw.”
Medina said while she knows her son is accused of breaking the law that morning, he didn’t deserve to be mistreated.
“No one deserves anything like that. No matter what you do, if you’re in handcuffs and you’re not doing anything, you’re not fighting, you’re not trying to run to where they have to try to grab you, no one deserves that,” Medina said. “They deserve to lose their jobs and never, ever work in law enforcement.”
The mother of the 16-year-old had similar concerns about the way the teens were allegedly treated that morning.
“What happened to David in front of his home is horrendous,” she said, speaking of Rodriguez. “What happened to my son, we don’t have on video and I can only imagine what they did that didn’t get captured.”
“And it’s not right," the mother continued. "I know that something happened. Something that should not have happened happened to him because he had abrasions to his face. He had bruises. If they didn’t touch him, how did he get it? We have a justice system. We’re supposed to put our trust in it. And how can we do that if these officers are taking things into their own hands?”
Rodriguez is charged with burglary of vehicles.
A review of court records also shows he’s currently facing three other charges from a separate incident in December 2019 that include identity theft, evading arrest and unlawful carrying of a weapon. The other teen was charged as a juvenile and no public records are available.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office sent the Defenders a statement Wednesday about the investigation.
"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."
Officials also said Maldonado and Arredondo are currently assigned to East Patrol pending the outcome of the review of this incident.
Rios remained on duty as a patrol deputy, even after investigators were made aware of the video.
She was not placed on administrative duty until Monday after her involvement in a police pursuit that may have violated the office’s policy.