Witness Narrates Assault
(TX) – In January of 2019, a man looked out his window and saw a woman being assaulted. The man called 911 and spoke to the dispatcher for over six minutes while deputies were on the way. While on the call, the man described what was happening. “He just knocked her again. And again. Oh my God, how sad.” He told the dispatcher that the woman was bleeding from her nose.
When deputies from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office arrived they found a bloody woman and a man going into his house and closing the door. Deputies kicked in the door and took the man into custody. He turned out to be Detective Daniel Pue with the San Antonio Police Department. They noted that both Pue and the victim smelled like alcohol.
An Unlikely Story
SAPD was notified of the arrest and an SAPD officer arrived on the scene. It’s common to inform a local law enforcement agency when one of their officers is arrested. In the bodycam video Pue repeatedly insists he should not be taken into custody. He states, “I’m at my own house. This crazy chick comes here and I’m the one in trouble.” (At this point, Pue does not know there is a witness). Pue claims that when he saw the deputies he figured they would handle it and went inside.
This just doesn’t ring true. His house was supposedly being attacked by a crazy woman and he decides no one will need to speak to him? That is so unlikely that it’s laughable. He’s a police officer, he knows the procedure. And he’s a detective. He would want to know what was said.
Pue insists to his coworker that he should not be charged with family violence because she is not a family member. He is well-aware that family violence includes someone “in a dating relationship with the victim.”
Interfering with an Arrest?
The most damning part of the video for me is when it appears Pue is trying to get his coworker to interfere in the arrest. Before that, he keeps saying how wrong it is and how he should not be arrested. At the very end of the bodycam video is the following:
SAPD Officer: Let me talk to the detective to see what he’s going to do.
Pue: Please. Please, friend.
SAPD Officer: But I need to know first, do you need anything? If they do take you, do you need anything?
SAPD Officer: Okay. I’ll be right back.
Pue: Please take care of me.
Calling the officer friend sure appears to be an attempt to manipulate him. Then Pue flat out asks him to take care of him. All before this Pue has been saying how he should not be arrested and taken to jail. It’s not unreasonable to think he’s asking the officer to stop that from happening.
Internal Affairs Investigation
The story gets more interesting. Once internal affairs starts investigating, they discover that Pue had gone to the woman’s house just seven hours before his arrest. Pue let himself in and found her in bed with a fellow officer. Pue told the officer that was his girlfriend and asked if they done anything. The officer denied they had and left the house.
The internal affairs investigation also uncovered the fact that Pue had, on several occasions, used the national and Texas criminal databases to research the woman. That is a violation. Those databases are allowed for specific purposes. Using them for unofficial purposes can result in your access being revoked. If that happened, Pue would not be able to do his job. He would not be allowed to see any information that came from those databases, which is a significant percentage of the information he uses.
Another Woman Subjected to Pue’s Abuse
Several officers voted in the internal affairs case. At least one of the officers was a woman. According to KSAT.com,
The internal affairs report indicates that a visibly upset and angry Pue confronted a female officer and asked about the results of a Complaint and Administrative Review Board meeting, even though she was not allowed to discuss it.
You can bet that there were men in the group that voted on his case. So why did Pue confront the woman? Why didn’t he confront one of the men? He doesn’t hit the officer in bed with his girlfriend, but an eye witness says he hit his girlfriend. Pue doesn’t confront any of the men who voted, but he does confront the woman. Looks like a pattern to me. A very concerning pattern.
Assault Case Dismissed
The woman refused to cooperate. That’s not uncommon. The District Attorney’s Office can still bring charges since there were obvious injuries. But it turned out that a relative of Pue’s works at the District Attorney’s Office. The D.A. recused himself because of the relationship. That was the appropriate thing to do. A special prosecutor was assigned. That prosecutor chose to go with a plea deal instead. A very, very good plea deal. All Pue had to do was take an anger management class and everything would go away. His case would be dismissed. This is why it’s so hard to address police misconduct.
Arbitration is the Last Chance
In my opinion, Pue should not be a police officer. Arbitration is our last chance to stop him from coming back. His termination was “based on allegations that he broke rules regarding the truthfulness of members, responsibility to serve the public, use of intoxicants and waste or conversion of city equipment.”
Those are valid allegations but I worry that they won’t be enough to keep Pue off the police force. The assault won’t be able to be used against him since it was dismissed. Arbitrators frequently seem to feel each side should get something in their favor. The bare minimum in Pue’s favor would be to get his job back. I don’t believe that should happen.
If Pue does get his job back, it will be another reason why people get angry about the amount of power the contract gives to police officers. The next time there is a recall, they may not win.
KSAT.com has two videos on their story about Pue. The first is the news story with clips of the bodycam video. The second is the official bodycam video of Pue speaking to the other SAPD officer. I recommend them both.