SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio police officer who was fired twice in roughly as many months is trying to win his job back.
Javier Perales Jr. is appealing the indefinite suspension he received in January 2018 for allegedly taking explicit photos off a woman’s phone and then using a series of spoofed numbers to text her the images as well as pictures of male genitalia. He’s also accused of contacting the same woman with a fake Facebook account.
Attorneys with the City of San Antonio say the text messages stopped after the woman contacted SAPD Internal Affairs.
While the patrolman admitted to using the fake Facebook account during an arbitration hearing on Tuesday, he and his legal team have denied he was behind the explicit texts. They’ve suggested other people could have gotten access to the photos and argued the male genitalia in the photos is not Perales’s.
Though Perales was fired over the allegations, police did not ultimately file a criminal case due to a lack of evidence.
What IA found was enough to convince Chief William McManus, though, who testified Tuesday at Perales’s arbitration hearing, saying, “As I read through the file -- the further I read, the more I was convinced that it was Perales, despite lack of forensic evidence.”
McManus said the sworn and citizen members of the Complaint and Administrative Review Board, which reviews allegations of officer’s wrongdoing, also recommended indefinitely suspending Perales, which is tantamount to firing him.
The police chief described Perales’s alleged actions as “repeatedly terrorizing a young woman with pictures that -- apparently everyone believed that -- on the board, including myself, believe that he snatched from her phone. There’s no room on the San Antonio Police Department for an individual like that.”
The chief said the fact that he had already slapped Perales with another indefinite suspension in November 2017, just over two months earlier, for threatening his ex-wife and her father via text message weighed into his decision.
That first indefinite suspension has already been downgraded to a 45-day suspension following an appeals process in 2020.
McManus said he saw similarities between the two accusations -- namely, that they showed a level of violence toward women.
“The level of trust that was destroyed by both of these actions. I simply wouldn’t put him on the street to work with any member of the public,” McManus said.
Perales also spoke during the hearing, though he largely kept his answers brief.
Pressed by an attorney for the city, Perales acknowledged that he had used a Facebook account with a fake name and photo to contact the woman after they had stayed together at a downtown hotel in August 2016.
Though Perales said he thought he had identified himself by asking the woman in the conversation about having gotten breakfast, he admitted he never definitively identified himself by name in the conversation.
However, Perales denied many more details during his testimony, saying he hadn’t: accessed the woman’s phone during their hotel stay, taken pictures of photos off of her phone, or sent the woman photos of herself or of any male genitalia.
The in-person portion of the appeal is now over, but both sides still need to submit briefs to the arbitrator, whose decision isn’t expected until early 2022.