Officer who drunkenly interfered with arrest to serve 30-day suspension

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio police officer who drunkenly interfered with an arrest was issued a 30-day suspension in November, records show.

Suspension paperwork states Mejia was off-duty April 24 when he prevented a police officer with the San Antonio Independent School District from detaining his friend at at 141 Lavaca Street, which is where the district is headquartered.

Records state Mejia put himself in the SAISD officer's path, allowing Mejia's friend to get away before the officer could detain him.

Mejia was initially issued a contemplated indefinite suspension, which is the department's equivalent of termination of employment, but had the punishment reduced to a 30-day suspension without pay after consulting with police Chief William McManus.

According to suspension documents, Mejia also "had slurred speech, was unsteady on his feet and had an odor of intoxicants on his breath." Disciplinary paperwork states authorities suspect Mejia had been drinking, which violates the department's policy of drinking to an extent "which rendered him unfit to report for duty."

The department prohibits officers, including off-duty officers, from drinking to excess.

Mejia is one of 10 officers suspended in the month of November:

Officer John Mendoza, suspended five days without pay for one incident and three days without pay for another incident: Authorities said Mendoza "failed to take action" to protect a small child from harm. Suspension paperwork states Mendoza was taking a report when someone notified him a child was dangerously close to an open window several feet above the ground. Documents state Mendoza stayed in his car and didn't immediately act on the information he was provided. The person who notified the officer asked for a supervisor to go to the location because they were dissatisfied with Mendoza's response. However, Mendoza "failed to immediately contact and inform an on-duty supervisor of such request," paperwork states. Mendoza was issued a five-day suspension in that incident. Authorities also found that Mendoza had worked at Mama Margie's Mexican Restaurant from January through July "at least 28 separate times" without an approved employment permit. He was issued a three-day suspension.

Officer Joshua Knowles, suspended 27 days without pay: Knowles reportedly told a driver whom he had pulled over, "This will go one of two ways: One, you're a hard a-- and I rip you out of your car, or two, you give me your ID." Before pulling that driver over, Knowles also threatened to arrest someone after they questioned another officer about a homophobic slur the officer used. Knowles told the person, "What the f--- are you gonna do?" suspension paperwork states. Read more

Detective David Rodriguez, suspended one day without pay: Rodriguez was cited for violating the department's policy on searching prisoners. Rodriguez detained an individual on several warrants and charges in June and when the person arrived at the detention facility, an intake officer discovered "additional controlled substance contraband" in the prisoner's pocket. Rodriguez also muted his body camera three times without documenting reasons during the incident.

Detective Jeffrey J. Walker, suspended one day without pay: Walker used profanity when talking to employees of the Texas Department of Public Safety and called one female employee a "skank," suspension documents allege.

Officer Dezi Rios, suspended 15 days without pay: Rios was cited for his role in a road rage shootout that unfolded in the parking lot of a strip club. Rios was shot six times in the shootout and the suspect was paralyzed. Rios was also transferred out of his role as a trainer at the Police Academy. Read more.

Officer Neil Rocha, suspended 10 days without pay: Rocha "negligently struck a vehicle" while on duty.

Officer Jacob Barcena, suspended three days without pay: Barcena hit a center median in a city-owned vehicle while on duty, according to suspension paperwork.

Officer Genova Avila, suspended one day without pay: Avila hit a fire hydrant while driving a city-owned vehicle on Sept. 24, suspension documents state.

Officer Julie Cortez, suspended one day without pay: Cortez, on Sept. 29, responded to a call and arrested a person. Suspension paperwork states she "hastened to the call ... (and) she forgot to activate her body worn camera."

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