SAN ANTONIO – A twice-fired San Antonio Police officer has lost an attempt to win his job back after he was fired for using a series of spoofed phone numbers to harass a woman with graphic photos, including her own “intimate, personal selfies.”
In a decision dated Jun. 10, an arbitrator upheld SAPD Chief William McManus’s January 2018 decision to indefinitely suspend Officer Javier Perales, which is tantamount to a firing. Perales could try to appeal the arbitrator’s decision in state district court, but it was not immediately clear if he would.
Reached by phone Tuesday, one of Perales’s two attorneys said he could not talk because he was sick, and neither attorney responded to an emailed request for comment.
In August 2017, a woman filed a complaint with SAPD Internal Affairs against Perales, believing he was behind messages she had received “containing her own nude photographs, photographs of erect male genitalia, and accompanying vulgar messages.”
The City of San Antonio believes Perales got the woman’s photos by taking pictures of them off her phone while she was asleep during a one-night stand in November 2016.
According to the 30-page decision and summary of the case by the arbitrator, Danielle Hargrove, SAPD performed a forensic download of the phone, “but the messages were ‘spoofed’ and untraceable.”
SAPD also opened a criminal investigation because of the unlawful disclosure of intimate photos, but did not ultimately file a criminal case because it would be too difficult to meet the criminal burden of proof.
However, administrative punishment requires a lower burden of proof, and an advisory board comprised of sworn officers and civilians recommended McManus indefinitely suspend Perales, which he did.
During the November 2021 arbitration hearing on the case, McManus described Perales’s 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.”
Perales admitted to messaging the woman with a pseudonym Facebook account, but denied texting her or taking pictures of the woman’s photos. While he also admitted to having and using Google Voice, “a platform used for anonymous communications,” he claimed it was for contacting suspects.
Hargrove, though, questioned Perales’s credibility and wrote in her decision that the “record evidence demonstrates sufficient and credible evidence by a preponderance of the evidence that the charges are true.”
Perales had been issued another indefinite suspension just over two months earlier, in November 2017, for sending threatening text messages to his ex-wife. He successfully appealed the punishment in a separate arbitration process and got it reduced to a 45-day suspension.
McManus said during Perales’s November 2021 hearing 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.