SAN ANTONIO – Four San Antonio police officers who forcibly entered a West Side hotel room last year while searching for a wanted person were suspended in January, according to SAPD suspension records.
The records, recently obtained by KSAT 12 News three months after they were requested through public information laws, showed that Officers Christopher Copeland, Fidel Ocegueda, Hector Ybarra and Nicholas M. Rodgers were disciplined in connection with an incident on Aug. 4 at the OYO Hotel located at US Highway 90. Copeland was suspended for two days, while the other officers were suspended for one, records showed.
That day, Copeland attempted to pull over a vehicle due to multiple violations. As Copeland exited his patrol car, the driver fled from him, according to the police report.
The driver, whose name was redacted in the police report, pulled over in an open field and fled toward the hotel. As Copeland chased him, he found a female passenger in the car, who told him that the man was going to his hotel room.
Officers knocked on the hotel room door, but no one answered it, according to the police report.
Officers began to force their way into the door, and Copeland ordered his fellow officers to break a window and deploy pepper spray into the hotel room, according to the police report.
When they made their way inside, officers did not find the man they were searching for. Instead, they found Luis Alejandro Gonzalez, who was wanted on two outstanding warrants. Gonzalez had told them the suspect they were looking for fled from the room shortly before officers had arrived to the door.
Though officers found methamphetamine and two firearms in the room, Gonzalez was not charged in connection with the incident, records showed.
Copeland was cited for leaving the female passenger of the suspect vehicle unattended, according to suspension records. The woman fled the scene after Copeland met up with other officers at the hotel. He was also cited for turning in an inaccurate report because he listed the wrong amount of money found in the room.
Each officer in the incident was also cited for forcibly entering the room “without a warrant or exigent circumstances.”