SAPD detective suspended 15 days after insulting jury, spat with judge that caused a mistrial

SAPD administration proposed demoting Det. Steven Rivas to patrol officer, settled on 15-day suspension

Suspension paperwork for SAPD Detective Steven Rivas. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio police detective has been suspended 15 days after multiple incidents of unprofessional behavior at the Bexar County Justice Center, city discipline records show.

Detective Steven Rivas was involved in the incidents of inappropriate conduct in a six-day period last fall, the records show.

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During a pretrial meeting on Oct. 6 with a Bexar County assistant district attorney, Rivas referred to a woman as a c*nt and made the following statements regarding the jury: “Well, jurors are re****ed, so you don’t know what they’re going to think. What if they don’t believe you? They’re so re****ed; you never know what kind of jury you’re going to get,” records show.

The word KSAT has chosen to redact is a derogatory word associated with the developmentally disabled.

The case, a DWI-2nd offense, was dismissed for insufficient evidence in late January, Bexar County court records show.

During a DWI trial on Oct. 11-12 in County Court 6, Rivas slouched while on the witness stand, sounded aggravated and frustrated “as if he didn’t want to be there,” the records show.

Rivas was on his phone while being questioned on the stand in front of the jury and used his phone with loud sound while attorneys conferred with the judge, Judge Erica Dominguez and two prosecutors later reported.

“Detective Rivas leaned his head back and closed his eyes while on the stand, giving the appearance he was sleeping,” according to records.

Following his testimony on Oct. 11, Rivas yelled at the two prosecutors in the hallway, using loud, profane and angry language, records show.

The comments, which included Rivas telling the prosecutors this is why “SAPD hates the f---ing DA’s Office,” were made in front of potential jurors for other courtrooms, according to the records.

Rivas left without being excused from the witness stand and told another DA staff member, “I’m going to tell the truth, and if that results in a mistrial, it’s no sweat off my back,” and that he would show up to court the next day if his alarm clock woke him, records show.

While testifying about his body-worn camera footage, Rivas provided information the judge had previously ordered to be redacted, according to records.

The following day, after Rivas provided another answer, he turned to Dominguez and asked if that was a better answer than yesterday, records show.

The judge, who described the question in the middle of proceedings as unprofessional and disrespectful, declared a mistrial, according to records.

Rivas’ suspension was finalized on March 28. He will serve it between May 4 and May 18, SAPD discipline records show.

Read more reporting on the KSAT Investigates page.

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.

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