Why BCSO deputy, SAPD officer faced different disciplines for same domestic violence charge

Two law enforcement officers were arrested in the same week for domestic violence incidents

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio police officer is now facing charges after being arrested for domestic violence.

According to SAPD, Mark Andrew Sanchez Jr. turned himself in Tuesday morning after the victim filed a report with the Bexar County Sherriff’s Office on Saturday.

No other information about the allegations was released.

Sanchez is charged with assault bodily injury and is confirmed to be suspended without pay.

This is the second law enforcement arrest in the last week.

Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Toni Ramirez was arrested Wednesday for assault.

Ramirez was immediately fired.

KSAT noticed the two different disciplinary actions for the same charge and wanted to know why.

It looks like the main difference in these specific arrests is how long the officer and deputy have been on the job.

Still, we wanted to take a closer look at the SAPD and BCSO protocols.

BCSO Protocol

Overall, the BCSO policy lists violations deputies can be fired for, and domestic violence is one of them.

When you start at BCSO, the first year is always a probationary period, where specific violations automatically end in firing.

Ramirez was still in that probationary period, which is why she was able to be immediately fired.

If the deputy involved has more tenure, there is a process where they are placed on administrative leave. The first 10 days are paid, then they can use their own paid time off.

BCSO confirms it is still very common for those cases to also result in a firing.

You can read the full policy documents below.

SAPD Protocol

When an SAPD officer is arrested, disciplinary action is up to the police chief.

SAPD has the same probationary period for the first year, which can streamline the process for being fired.

Chief McManus can suspend officers without pay, which is what happened to Sanchez.

At that point there is an internal administrative investigation happening while the separate criminal investigation takes place.

Those results are presented to the chief’s CARB –Complaint and Administrative Review Board. Those results are given to the chief who can make a decision.

Depending on the outcome of the internal investigation, McManus could indefinitely suspend the officer, which SAPD confirmed is equivalent to termination.

If that happens, the officer can appeal the suspension, but that would not happen until the criminal case has been resolved.

You can read the full policy documents below.

Differences in Cases

The main difference in these two specific cases mainly had to do with tenure. Ramirez was in her first year, where Sanchez had five years on the force, warranting the longer process.

KSAT’s Domestic Violence Reporting

KSAT reports a lot of domestic violence cases, not just those involving law enforcement. That also allows us to consistently report on prevention and resources.

The cases we report range in severity, which allows us to show how common and gradual this abuse can be.

It starts with psychological abuse:

  • Gaslighting, which is convincing you it’s your fault
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Name calling

Then, there’s mental abuse which can be:

  • Emotional
  • Verbal
  • Financial
  • Stalking

Physical abuse is gradual, too:

  • Shoving
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Sexual abuse

Strangulation is physical abuse at a higher level, which is why it’s a felony charge.

  • Choking increases the chance you’ll die from abuse by 700%, according to the Texas Commission on Domestic Violence (TCFV)
  • It typically happens a year before someone is killed, according to TCFV

This all of course can lead to death, which happens way too much in this community.

Domestic violence homicides often involve a gun.

  • A gun in the house increases the chance you’ll die by 500 percent, according to TCFV

You don’t have to check all these boxes. Even just one or two could mean you’re in an abusive relationship.

Even if you’re not sure, there are many places you can call or check out online. You can call and make a safety plan just in case you need to leave in the future. There’s counseling and legal help for things like divorce and custody.

Family Violence Prevention Services provide all those resources including the shelter. To contact them: Crisis Number: 210-733-8810, Programs and Administration: 210-930-3669

The Bexar County Family Justice Center also provides wrap-around services and can be reached at (210) 631-0100.

There is a full list of resources on KSAT’s Domestic Violence webpage.


About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.