SAN ANTONIO – A veteran San Antonio Police Department detective has been suspended 20 days after investigators said he dragged a screaming, handcuffed man down the street and refused to provide him medical help.
The suspension of Det. David Pantoja became effective July 20, nearly six months after the incident took place.
Pantoja and another officer were accused of dragging the man, Joshua Coney, by his handcuffed arms as Coney faced away from them, Pantoja’s suspension paperwork states.
The incident happened just after 3 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the 7300 block of Trail Crossing near Mainland Drive.
Pantoja’s suspension paperwork states that Coney was “unnecessarily dragged” and was denied medical services after asking for them.
Additionally, Pantoja issued Coney a misdemeanor citation for failure to ID during the incident, even though it is not a citable offense, records show.
“Detective Pantoja did not thoroughly understand the laws and ordinances which he was charged with enforcing when he issued the citation in question,” Pantoja’s suspension paperwork states.
Although an incident report written by Pantoja mentions that he was forced to “drag” Coney toward his patrol vehicle, it states that he and another officer did so only after Coney made his body go limp.
Pantoja’s report also states that Coney “attempted to place both of his legs under the rear of my patrol vehicle to appear as if he had been run over by the police vehicle.”
Pantoja appealed his 20-day suspension a day after it became effective, civil service commission records show.
Since Pantoja’s suspension is longer than three days, the department’s collective bargaining agreement requires him to serve it while it is under appeal. An arbitrator will ultimately decide if the suspension should be reduced and if Pantoja will be given backpay.
Pantoja emails KSAT
Separate from this incident, Pantoja emailed this reporter and photographer Joshua Saunders on July 9, days after the two KSAT journalists were shot at while reporting on-scene by a man who was later killed by police.
Pantoja sent an email from his personal account telling the KSAT journalists to think of the officers who were involved in the standoff.
“I guarantee those officers were scared at the thought of facing an armed individual, scared at the thought of never seeing their families and loved ones again, scared about making a split second decision that people and the media would take months to scrutinize and later crucify them for that split second decision all over the news and social media, but the one thought that I promise you Mr. Collier that never entered their mind when thinking all those terrifying thoughts was to ask themselves, who am I risking my life for?” Pantoja’s email stated.
The email prompted this reporter to file a formal complaint and asking whether Pantoja had ever emailed a victim of any other violent crime. An SAPD internal affairs sergeant responded that any corrective action taken against Pantoja would be handled by his chain of command.
Pantoja has worked for SAPD since 1996, city records show.