Trash talk leads to garbageman fistfight

City fires two sanitation workers after on duty brawl in May

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Two city sanitation workers were terminated in June, weeks after they got into an on-duty fistfight at a Solid Waste Management warehouse, according to personnel paperwork obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders.

The May 31 brawl, which multiple co-workers said included both men shoving each other before punches were thrown around 6:50 a.m., forced the San Antonio Police Department to respond to the scene.

By the time the responding officer arrived to the 1500 block of Cantrell Drive, employees Carlos Elizondo and David Torres were separated. 

One eyewitness provided a statement that one of the men attempted to pull the other man out of a sanitation truck before "the driver got out swinging."

City investigators later noted that Elizondo's left eye had a "raised red area" consistent with having been punched.

"I've been here 20 years. I can't remember a single incident where we actually had a fight here at work," said Solid Waste Management Deputy Director David Newman.

"We have to provide a good environment for our employees, a safe environment, a productive environment for our employees to work."

Both Elizondo and Torres appealed their terminations, according to city records.

Elizondo later withdrew his appeal, while Torres failed to show up in early September for his appeal hearing.

Torres has worked for Solid Waste Management since 2010, while Elizondo had been employed by the department since 2014.

Neither man will face assault charges, since the responding officer determined it was a "mutual combat" incident.

The San Antonio City Attorney's Office said it could not release SAPD body-worn camera footage related to the fight, since it was investigated as a Class C misdemeanor that did not result in an arrest.

The request for footage is currently being reviewed by the state attorney general's office.

A city spokeswoman confirmed the fight was one of nine reported workplace violence incidents last fiscal year involving the city's more than 12,000 employees.

The spokeswoman said the altercation between Elizondo and Torres was the only one that involved physical contact.

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