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05-14-09, 10:04 PM #1
A party celebrating a candidate's mayoral victory ended with nearly a dozen police cars at the scene
TAFT — A downtown pachanga Saturday night, celebrating a candidate’s mayoral victory, ended with nearly a dozen police cars at the scene, a city councilwoman in handcuffs and the acting police chief arrested by his own officer.
The arresting officer, Diego Solis, and another off-duty officer, Joe Tamez, who witnessed the altercation, were fired Monday by City Manager Florencio Sauceda, while pursuing charges against City Councilwoman Lucy Lopez and acting Taft Police Chief Gregorio Hinojosa. All sides in the fight began hiring lawyers Monday. And the Texas Rangers and San Patricio County Attorney and District Attorney are trying to sort out what happened and whether anyone should be charged.
On Saturday, former City Councilman Bobby Vega defeated first-term Mayor Filberto Rivera. A party to celebrate, with roughly 200 revelers, overflowed out of a downtown business onto Green Avenue, the town’s main drag, according to the San Patricio County Sheriff’s Department.
Councilwoman Lucy Lopez, who had supported Rivera, drove up to a yellow police barricade tape that Officer Solis had slung across the street for crowd safety. She was in a white minivan loaded with family members, according to her family, Solis and several witnesses.
Accounts of the night’s events, which happened after 11 p.m. according to both sides, differ from there.
Lopez would not comment Monday.
But her family, including sister Inez Castillo and two nieces who with her Saturday night, said Solis overreacted. As a city councilwoman, Lopez was doing her civic duty checking out why such a boisterous, loud party was going on so late, family said. And when Solis told her to stop, she stopped, Castillo said.
Solis gives a different account.
He said Lopez tried to hit him with her van and threatened to run through the crowd of Vega’s supporters gathered in the street. He said he tried to get her van in park, but could not figure out how because it is specially equipped for Lopez, who uses a wheelchair.
“I stood in front of her vehicle and yelled for her to stop three times,” Solis said. “She kept coming.”
Solis said he had one cuff on her left arm through the window and held on to try to maintain control.
“She was pulling from her right and elbowing me.”
About that time, acting police chief Hinojosa showed up in street clothes, with no badge or gun and told Solis to let Lopez go, actions which Hinojosa confirmed Monday morning.
After some back and forth, Solis arrested Hinojosa, cuffing him and putting him in the backseat of a patrol car.
By this time, Solis had already called in law enforcement from surrounding towns, including San Patricio County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Oscar Rivera, a recently retired Texas Ranger.
Roughly 10 law enforcement vehicles were on the scene that night.
Rivera said he was there in a peacekeeping capacity. He advised all sides to call it a night and put two deputies in the town overnight to handle calls. Hinojosa was released from custody. And Solis spent Monday trying to pursue charges against Lopez and Hinojosa, which Hinojosa called Solis’ prerogative.
“In his mind the law says something and he’s going by the law,” Hinojosa said. “What I don’t think he gets is you don’t have to arrest everybody all the time. When a supervisor tells you to stop, you have to.”
Solis has turned over two reports to San Patricio County Attorney David Aken and has sought warrants to arrest Lopez on reckless driving and resisting arrest and Hinojosa on official oppression and interfering with the duties of a public servant.
The Texas Rangers have been asked to investigate, but a decision has not been made, said Sinton-based Ranger Tony DeLuna. And Aken and District Attorney Patrick Flanigan also are involved, though it’s still unclear which agency will take the lead.
05-14-09, 10:15 PM #2
Holy crap!Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.
That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.
If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.
I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones
Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman
05-14-09, 10:27 PM #3
So he arrested HIS Chief???? For INTERFERING????
Dayum.... Later, dude. I don't know if he can get a job anywhere else.
05-14-09, 10:33 PM #4
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly. - Lovelace
The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.
05-14-09, 10:39 PM #5
Holy shit. That's insane.
I feel for the rangers who have to filter through that mess.No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.
05-14-09, 10:39 PM #6Officer First ClassVerified LEO
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Methinks Solis will be in another line of work.
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