SAN ANTONIO – Shortly after turning himself in on a second-degree felony assault of a public servant charge a day after a confrontation with Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, authorities reduced charges against the man to a low-level misdemeanor, his attorney told KSAT12.
Terry Toller, 47, turned himself in to authorities around 7 a.m. Thursday, BCSO said. Toller’s attorney, Nico LaHood, a former Bexar County district attorney, confirmed to KSAT that the charges were downgraded to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. Toller was released from the Bexar County Jail around 11 a.m.
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales released the following statement on the case:
“This morning, Terry Toller turned himself in on a felony charge of assault on a public servant. At the request of Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, that charge was rejected at magistration by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Toller was issued a citation for disorderly contact for using profanity in a public place. It is the policy of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office not to comment on pending cases. Bexar County’s Executive Order NW-10 requires businesses develop a policy for both employees and customers to wear a facial covering in the interest of protecting us all from the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a face covering is a sign of respect to the people around you. While this issue has become divisive and political, it is my hope that everyone will follow the order voluntarily.”
Wolff said he asked prosecutors not to pursue more aggressive action on the charge because he did not want the incident to be a distraction.
" I did not want this to be a distraction of our main focus of requiring businesses to have customers wear masks and continuing to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our community,” Wolff said. “We are experiencing a drastic rise in cases and hospitalizations and it is my understanding that those numbers will go up exponentially today.”
WATCH: Attorney Nico LaHood says Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar ‘way overreacted’ in confrontation involving Nelson Wolff
LaHood slammed Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar for his handling of the case, saying the felony assault charge was “overreaching.”
“They have reduced the charges ... which I think is a painful example of how the sheriff way overreacted,” LaHood said. “I’m very disappointed in how this case was handled. This is not the way cases are handled.”
While he is pleased the charge was reduced, LaHood said Toller maintains he did nothing wrong.
“There are other aspects that happened in the incident that people are not getting,” LaHood said. “This was taken way out of context ... at the very least, it was handled irresponsibly. At the worst, it was deceptive.”
Toller smacked a business card out of Wolff’s hand during a confrontation over a mask Wednesday at a checkout line at a Lowe’s store on Interstate 10 and Callaghan Road, Salazar initially said at the scene.
Wolff was getting in line when a cashier told Toller that wearing a mask was required. Toller grew upset, so Wolff intervened, Salazar said Wednesday.
Wolff tried to hand Toller a business card, but he knocked it out of his hands. Video appeared to show minimal contact and Wolff said he was not injured.
“From what we can see on the video, it appears Judge Wolff was just trying to be helpful with the situation,” Salazar said.
Had Toller been prosecuted for the second-degree felony of assault of a public servant, he would have faced up to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. If convicted of the Class C misdemeanor charge, Toller would face a fine up to $500.
Wolff issued a countywide emergency order last week that requires businesses to ensure employees and customers wear face masks in any building. The order took effect Monday, as COVID-19 cases continued to surge in San Antonio.
Businesses who are caught violating the order can face a fine up to $1,000.