By Travis Gettys
Jan 9, 2015
Three San Antonio police officers were suspended 15 days each for the brutal beating of a man they mistook for a felony suspect.
But the police chief then shortened those suspensions to five days after meeting with the officers, reported KENS-TV.
Roger Carlos suffered broken teeth and injuries to his face, neck, and back in the May beating, and he has undergone two surgeries to relieve neck pain and accumulated about $15,000 in medical bills.
He was photographing a building where his wife planned to open a medical practice when two SWAT officers and an undercover drug task force officer approached and started beating him in the head.
“These guys, they beat me like a bunch of thugs,” Carlos said.
Carlos said he complied with police orders and did not fight back as the officers struck him about 50 times.
“I could understand taking somebody down hard,” said Carlos, who has no criminal history. “I can understand the need for that and securing them, but that’s not what happened. I got on the ground, I was no threat to anybody, I was fully compliant.”
Police said the officers had been pursuing 27-year-old Josue Rodriguez, who was wanted on a felony warrant, when they encountered Carlos.
Rodriguez, who was referred to in previous reports as Josue Gonzalez, had led officers on a brief car chase before ditching the vehicle and fleeing on foot toward a restaurant a few hundred feet from the office building where Carlos had been taking photos.
Carlos explained that he owned the building as officer handcuffed him, and a fourth officer then walked up to report that Rodriguez had been arrested nearby.
Rodriguez — whose mug shot shows minor cuts, abrasions, and a bruised eye — was charged with evading and resisting arrest, possession of an illegal firearm, and possession a controlled substance.
Police said they found a sawed-off shotgun, ammunition, and 20 grams of methamphetamine in the car Rodriguez had been driving during the pursuit.
The SWAT officers were identified as Carlos Chavez and Virgilo Gonzalez, but the undercover drug task force officer was not identified due to the nature of his job.
They were suspended late last year, but Police Chief William McManus cut their punishment to five days just before taking a planned retirement.
The new chief, Anthony Trevino, said “discipline was imposed after careful consideration of all factors.”
“The outcome in this case is indicative of our desire to serve our public and protect the rights of all involved,” Trevino said.
McManus said in July that he had not seen anything to indicate the officers had used excessive force, but he refused an offer by KENS to view photos of Carlos’ injuries.
“Clearly it was a case of mistaken identity,” McManus said in July. “From the report that I’ve read, from the photo that I saw, and from (reporters’) description, I’ve not seen anything at this point that would indicate to me that anything out of order happened.”