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Crime Child porn, family violence, drunken driving: Five San Antonio police officers disciplined for alleged wrongdoing

18:19  21 may  2020
18:19  21 may  2020 Source:   expressnews.com

Child porn, family violence, drunken driving: Five San Antonio police officers disciplined for alleged wrongdoing

  Child porn, family violence, drunken driving: Five San Antonio police officers disciplined for alleged wrongdoing Three San Antonio police officers have been fired after they were accused of criminal wrongdoing, and two others suspended for violating department policies. Among those who faced punishment: a patrolman involved in child pornography; a police officer accused of threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend; a police detective who has been involved in domestic disturbances; and a 12-year veteran of the force charged with drunken driving. In disciplinarySan Antonio Police Chief William McManus took disciplinary actions after five police officers recently.

Three San Antonio police officers have been fired after they were accused of criminal wrongdoing, and two others suspended for violating department policies.

a man sitting at a table using a laptop computer: San Antonio Police Chief William McManus took disciplinary actions after five police officers recently. © Robin Jerstad /Contributor

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus took disciplinary actions after five police officers recently.

Among those who faced punishment: a patrolman involved in child pornography; a police officer accused of threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend; a police detective who has been involved in domestic disturbances; and a 12-year veteran of the force charged with drunken driving.

In disciplinary records released Wednesday, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus criticized the officers for bringing reproach and discredit upon the department.

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McManus has long maintained that he has no tolerance for misconduct while emphasizing that the actions of a few officers are not representative of the police force, which has more than 2,000 sworn personnel.

The documents, which were released in response to an open records request, provide new details about some of the high-profile cases.

Sebastian Torres

Sebastian Torres, 26, was fired on March 19 after he was arrested on two counts of distribution and possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children.

Torres, a patrolman who worked at the South Substation, pleaded guilty to the federal charges in February and faces up to 40 years in prison.

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According to the disciplinary records, Torres sent eight videos on Snapchat, a video sharing and messaging app, to a female acquaintance. In the videos, Torres could be seen and heard performing sexual acts on himself.

That same day, officials say, Torres sent five “visual depictions” to an acquaintance on Snapchat of what appeared to be children being forced into sexual acts.

During an interview with police detectives, Torres admitted that he had participated in group chats with children that might have been sexually abused or sexually exploited.

“I have been in group chats where it turns into, like there’s a minor there, and it’s like, ah that’s too much and I exit the group chat,” Torres told the detective.

Jose A. Hinojosa

Officer Jose A. Hinojosa on March 20 was indefinitely suspended, which is tantamount to firing, after he was charged with drunken driving.

According to the disciplinary records, Hinojosa was driving his personal vehicle on Oct. 5 when a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw Hinojosa cross over the median into oncoming traffic.

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After the deputy pulled him over, Hinojosa told him he was an off-duty SAPD officer. Hinojosa, 38, refused a field sobriety test, at which point the deputy placed him under arrest. According to the Sheriff’s Office, he became defiant and refused to get in the deputy’s patrol vehicle.

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According to the disciplinary records, Hinojosa was belligerent throughout the arrest and made derogatory and explicit remarks about the deputies involved in his arrest.

At the Bexar County jail, Hinojosa refused to take a breathalyzer test, prompting authorities to obtain a warrant to draw his blood. He had a blood alcohol level above 0.15, almost twice the legal standard for intoxication.

Hinojosa remains free on bail as he awaits trial. He has appealed his firing and is seeking reinstatement.

Kenneth Moreno

Officer Kenneth Moreno, a 13-year veteran of the force, received an indefinite suspension in May for the second time in recent months, according to city records.

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It is not clear exactly why Moreno, 36, was fired again; that set of records has yet to be released.

In October, Moreno received an indefinite suspension after he was charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend.

According to those disciplinary records, Moreno’s ex-girlfriend called 911 in May 2019 to report that Moreno followed her to Gold’s Gym and stole her phone. Police said at the time that Moreno tried unsuccessfully to unlock the phone before pleading with the woman to give him a second chance.

When the woman told Moreno their relationship was over, he said he might do “something stupid” and threatened to kill her, according to an arrest affidavit.

Moreno was originally arrested on stalking charges, but later that year, police said they were looking into allegations of a second assault.

This month, following a grand jury indictment, he was charged with continuous violence against a family member — indicating multiple assaults.

Moreno remains free as he awaits trial. He is appealing both firings

While it is unusual to punish an officer with two indefinite suspensions, it’s an action McManus has taken in the past when there were several allegations of misconduct.

The maneuver also can make an officer’s appeal of the firings more complicated and lengthy, a process that can take months if not years.

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Jimmy Castillo

Detective Jimmy Castillo, 43, was initially disciplined in January after officials say he threw out his girlfriend’s belongings at his home on the far West Side.

Police were called to the house in the Spring Vistas subdivision and reported that Castillo had bloodshot, glassy eyes and an odor of intoxicants on his breath.

Initially, McManus fired Castillo. But in March, as part of a negotiation with the San Antonio Police Detectives’ Association, McManus agreed to reduce the punishment to a 45-day suspension.

As part of the agreement, Castillo may be required to undergo additional training, participate in counseling or enroll in a mentorship program.

It was not the first time Castillo, who is assigned to the East Substation, has been involved in disturbances with a girlfriend, though he has never faced criminal charges.

In March 2018, he received a 30-day suspension after an incident at his girlfriend’s home, KSAT reported. And in 2014, Castillo received a three-day suspension for physically assaulting his girlfriend during a scuffle to grab her purse, according to records obtained by the TV station.

Juan C. Torres

Officer Juan C. Torres, a 25-year-veteran of the force, was suspended for 10 days on March 10 after police say he failed to properly investigate a family violence allegation.

The suspension comes after Torres, a patrol officer assigned to the North Substation, was dispatched to an assault at a gas station near Schertz.

A woman told Torres that her boyfriend had punched and choked her, breaking her tooth and leaving red marks on her neck.

According to the disciplinary records, Torres failed to complete the documentation required for a family violence call. He also did not contact a follow-up unit to obtain an arrest warrant.

During the course of the investigation, officials also learned that Torres had not turned on his body-worn camera as required. The camera was activated for only 20 seconds, after Torres had already spoken with the victim.

He waived his right to appeal the suspension.

Emilie Eaton is a criminal justice reporter in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. To read more from Emilie, become a subscriber. eeaton@express-news.net | Twitter: @emilieeaton

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