Poorly Run Sheriff’s Office Jeopardizes Cases, Frustrating District Attorney



Bexar County patch
Bexar County patch

THE PROBLEMS KEEP COMING

Bexar County Cadet Dies on First Day of Training

(TX) – On November 27, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office started a new cadet class. While doing some physical training, 59-year old Kevin Reaux had a medical episode though there is no indication he had any physical issues. “As they began their physical exercise training, Reaux began to experience shortness of breath and was allowed to rest.” No information on cause of death has been released yet. The immediate assumption is that his age was a factor. That may not be the case. There appears to be more to the story. I would not be surprised if a lawsuit is eventually filed against the Sheriff’s Office. In fact, I would be surprised if one wasn’t filed.

Bexar County Inmate Found Dead in Cell

On December 6, 29-year old Alexandra Gedminas “was found unresponsive in a booking cell.” The Sheriff’s Office is again claiming a medical episode. In this case, the possibility definitely is there. Gedminas was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. By the time the fire department’s medical personnel got to her, she was already deceased. No information on cause of death has been released.

District Attorney Opens Up About Problems with Sheriff’s Office

On December 15, one of our media stations published an article about about the District Attorney having problems getting video evidence from our two biggest law enforcement agencies. That would be the San Antonio Police Department and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. The failure to provide the video evidence is negatively impacting cases.

KSAT12.com,

In late November, San Antonio criminal defense attorney Steven Gilmore saw felony charges dismissed in two separate cases against one of his clients.

“Neither case on paper looked very good for the defense,” said Gilmore, referring to the 2020 charge of evading arrest with a motor vehicle and an unrelated 2019 felony drug possession case, both filed in 290th District Court.

State law requires that the defense attorney receives all evidence in a case. In an ongoing murder case, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office was so negligent in turning over evidence to the prosecution that the judge reduced the bond of the defendant by $200,000. If the prosecution doesn’t have it, then they can’t give it to the defense attorney.

KSAT12.com,

“You have an obligation under 39.14 (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure) to turn over everything or you can’t be ready,” said (Judge) Angelini, who pointed his finger at the prosecutor from the bench.

I can’t blame the District Attorney for being upset. His people are catching flack for the Sheriff’s failures.

Defense Attorneys Winning by Default

Cases are being dismissed or severely hampered by the failure to comply with state law. Defense attorneys may be happy about their clients getting off, but it’s happening because the process is a disaster, not necessarily because the client is innocent.

And what does the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office have to say about it? “BCSO officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment from the KSAT 12 Defenders about the handling of evidence in the McDonald (murder) case.”

Bexar County Inmate Commits Suicide

The article about the District Attorney was published in the afternoon. On the evening of December 15, 30-year old inmate, Evan Held, committed suicide. What bothers me about the story is the difference in what happened compared to what was reported by the media. The media said, “Evan Held, 30, was found hanging unresponsive in his cell just before 9 p.m.”

That’s not true. Evan Held was found hanging in a utility closet located in an open bay unit. By policy, the utility closets are supposed to be locked. It is my understanding that a code 6 was called and as many as three inmates were tased.

So how did a situation, where an inmate was found hanging in a room that was supposed to be secured and that progressed to the need for an ‘every available officer’ code to be called, end up as he hung himself in his cell? Was the media that off-base in their reporting? Or were they not given correct information? And who is going to be held accountable for the unlocked closet?

Bexar County Deputy Facing Criminal Charges

On December 22, we learned that a Bexar County deputy has been indicted. This incident happened two years ago, but it was still this same administration. Deputy Abigail Rios was charged with official oppression and assault bodily injury. Rios wasn’t the only deputy involved. This is an ugly story. You can read it here and see the home surveillance video that caught the incident.

Even though the Sheriff’s Office was informed of what the deputies had done, and the video was provided to investigators, the Sheriff let them remain on patrol until a different incident occurred.

A Pattern of Incompetence

This is by far, not the first time we have written about the incompetence of the Salazar administration. Every law enforcement agency has bad things happen. But when so many bad things keep on happening, you have to start looking at leadership.  The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office continues to flounder under the ineptitude of Javier Salazar. It’s time to accept the fact that the problem is at the top of the organization.

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