SAPD supervisors suspended over roles in Helotes bar fight

Three women, none of them officers, cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct following Oct. 8 melee

SAN ANTONIO – Two supervisors with the San Antonio Police Department were suspended earlier this year for their roles in a bar brawl in Helotes last fall.

Three women seen in surveillance video throwing punches, none of them SAPD officers, were cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct following the Oct. 8 melee inside Pete’s Place Spirits & More, located in the 14700 block of Old Bandera Rd.

Lt. Angel Castello was suspended 15 days in March after an internal affairs investigation determined he violated department rules on proper conduct and behavior.

Castello, a 27-year veteran of SAPD, approached a fellow off-duty officer in a confrontational manner and had to be told by a Helotes police officer on scene to back up, discipline paperwork states.

Castello, according to audio captured by a Helotes PD body-worn camera, caused the situation to escalate.

Castello served the suspension over two weeks in March, records show.

Sergeant Paul Rodriguez, a 22-year veteran of SAPD, was suspended 20 days for rules violations, including acts showing a lack of good moral character.

Rodriguez was accused of striking a woman in the head during the brawl, breaking her glasses and knocking her to the ground, SAPD internal affairs paperwork and Helotes PD records show.

The woman, a participant in the original fight, subsequently filed an assault report against Rodriguez, claiming he caused her to bruise her nose and cheek, sprain a ligament in her back and break her glasses after “aggressively” putting his arm around her neck and throwing her backward during the fight, Helotes PD records show.

Helotes police officials in late November declined to file assault charges against Rodriguez with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.

Rodriguez forfeited vacation days in lieu of serving the suspension, records show.

SAPD officials on Thursday released discipline records covering March through May, months after many of the suspensions were handed down. Officials have not provided a reason for the lengthy delay in releasing the paperwork publicly.

What the video shows

Footage of the fight, posted online by one of the women cited for disorderly conduct, shows a group of women arguing inside the bar before they begin shoving one another.

Rodriguez, shown in the video wearing a light plaid shirt, is seen approaching from the left side of the screen. He grabs a woman from behind and tosses her away.

She then swings several times at him as he moves away from her, further into the fray.

Rodriguez and several other people appear to slip and fall as the fight continues.

The woman tossed away by Rodriguez then swings several times at one of the women with whom she was first arguing.

A second woman is seen punching Rodriguez repeatedly in the back of the head before he appears to push her into a wall.

Rodriguez is held back by a second man before a third man is seen shoving Rodriguez, causing him to slip and fall down a second time.

A security guard is then seen walking into picture, as the various groups of people separate.

About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.