SAN ANTONIO – While traveling at speeds of up to 92 mph during an unauthorized pursuit, a San Antonio police officer took his hands off the wheel to send a text message. That same day, in an unrelated incident, another officer was heard making “numerous offensive, unnecessary and verbally abusive statements” to a suspect who fled from him.
Both cases, exposed by the officers’ own body cameras, led to 15-day suspensions doled out in January, according to police suspension records obtained three months after they were requested by KSAT 12 News.
On July 17, Officer Carlos Asebedo Jr. observed a Honda Civic that was driving aggressively, according to the suspension documents. Asebedo pulled the driver over, but the driver subsequently fled from the traffic stop.
“Officer Asebedo, contrary to department policy and without the authorization of a supervisor, then pursued the Honda Civic with his vehicle’s emergency lights and siren activated,” according to the records.
During the chase, Asebedo reached speeds up to 92 mph in a 35 mph zone on Somerset Road, in addition to traveling on the wrong side of Palo Alto Road, investigators found.
While reviewing footage from his body camera, investigators also discovered that Asebedo sent a text message with his phone “even briefly taking both hands off the steering wheel.”
When Asebedo found the abandoned vehicle in the 8800 block of Oletha, a passing motorist told officers that the man they’re looking for may have run into a home on the street.
Asebedo approached the home armed with his AR-15, according to the records.
“However, there was no apparent threat which posed an imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death to any person, and the presence of a shoulder weapon was neither requested by another officer nor a supervisor.”
Investigators also noted that Asebedo muted his body camera during the incident without giving a reason to do so, which violates SAPD policy.
That same day, Officer David Below made contact with a suspect he recognized from a previous encounter. The suspect fled from Below, but he was later found hiding in a shed and was arrested, according to the records.
A review of Below’s body camera footage showed him making several offensive statements to the suspect, according to the records.
When they arrived at the jail, the suspect kicked the inside of the patrol vehicle, leading Below to respond “with more offensive, unnecessary and abusive language,” investigators found. Below’s conduct violated the department’s treatment of prisoners policy.
In both cases, the officers were initially handed a 30-day suspension. But, after giving each officer the chance to rebut the charges, Police Chief William McManus agreed to cut the suspension time in half, records showed.