BCSO deputy indicted, accused of striking handcuffed teen while off duty

Abigail Rios, 30, faces charges of official oppression and assault causing bodily injury

Abigail Rios (Bexar County Jail, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy accused of striking a teenager while he was in handcuffs nearly two years ago was indicted Tuesday on charges of official oppression and assault causing bodily injury, court records show.

Deputy Abigail Rios, 30, was taken into custody just before 10 a.m. Wednesday. At last check, Rios was being held on bonds totaling $6,000.

A co-defendant, listed in charging paperwork as Deputy Raul Maldonado, was not indicted and so far has not been criminally charged, court officials confirmed Wednesday.

Rios, while off duty on New Year’s Day last year, is accused of striking a then-17-year-old who was in handcuffs while being investigated for allegedly breaking into vehicles in a neighborhood in the 1400 block of Oriole Court around 3:30 a.m.

Moments after the then-17-year-old David Rodriguez and another teen were taken into custody, they claimed they were roughed up by off-duty Bexar County sheriff deputies, and home surveillance footage obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders last year appeared to back up some of their story.

The video, recorded by a woman’s security system, included footage of one of the teens appearing to be hit and shoved while in handcuffs.

In the video, an on-duty Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy is seen placing Rodriguez on his knees near a county patrol car with his arms handcuffed behind his back. The on-duty officer goes about his duties as two people hover nearby.

One of the figures, a woman later identified in the incident report as Rios, appeared to be very agitated as she paced back and forth.

Rios was one of two off-duty deputies who allegedly caught Rodriguez and his 16-year-old friend breaking into a neighbor’s vehicle, according to the incident report.

In the video, the woman rushed toward Rodriguez, appeared to yell at him, and then hit him in the face with her hand.

Seconds later, a man who is also at the scene appears to grab Rodriguez’s hair and slam his head against the patrol vehicle.

The on-duty deputy does not seem to intervene but quickly places Rodriguez in the back of the patrol vehicle as the man and woman walk away and out of view of the camera.

“She grabbed me by my bag and then put her leg behind my legs and threw me down onto my back,” the then-16-year-old told the Defenders last year. “Then, she got on top of me and had my hands against the ground and then, she put her knee against my chest.”

The teen claimed he was then attacked by a group of people who had followed Rios out of a nearby home.

“They came in and then they started stomping my face on this side here and then they started punching me,” the teen said. “And then after they beat me up, she tells them, ‘Okay, y’all have to leave because the cops are on their way.’”

The teen said he suffered minor injuries from the attack.

“Like the side of my face was swollen,” he said. “I had like two black eyes. And then I had a cut on my ear.”

“I was outraged. I was pacing back and forth. I was angry. I was hurt,” the mother of one of the teens told the Defenders last year. “And for three officers, who are supposed to protect and serve, to violate my son’s rights that way and treat him as if he wasn’t human was very, very hard to deal with.”

Rios is the 15th BCSO deputy arrested in 2021.

A BCSO official said Wednesday Rios was placed on administrative duty in late January 2020, after the incident. Rios was served a proposed dismissal in late July of this year, and has been on unpaid administrative leave while her case goes through the civil service process.

The official said Maldonado was also placed on administrative duty after the incident, before also being served a proposed dismissal in late July of this year. Like Rios, Maldonado remains on unpaid administrative leave.

A burglary of vehicles charge against Rodriguez stemming from the incident is no longer listed on the Bexar County court records site.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar released the following statement Wednesday afternoon, regarding Rios’ arrest:

“Our duty to uphold the law does not change whether we are on-duty, off-duty, or whether we think somebody is watching. Our Public Integrity Unit has done a great job working with the case from the time this misconduct was discovered, and I intend to see this through to the fullest extent. Misconduct at any level will not be tolerated.”

Read more:

Bexar County law enforcement officer arrests rose 20 percent in 2021

‘They deserve to lose their jobs’: Mothers outraged after BCSO deputy allegedly hits handcuffed teen on camera

About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Tim Gerber is an investigative reporter and anchor on the KSAT Defenders team.