Deputy suspended pending probe of officer tasing non-compliant migrant teen
Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
- A Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy tased a 16-year-old migrant while responding to a call at a federally contracted holding facility, Reveal News reported.
- The deputy was suspended as officials conduct an investigation into the incident, a spokesperson for the department told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- “Deputies gave the juvenile verbal commands and when the juvenile was non-compliant, the responding deputy tased the juvenile and then detained him,” Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Adelina Simpson told the DCNF.
A Texas sheriff’s department opened an internal affairs investigation after reports and body camera footage showed a deputy tasing a 16-year-old migrant at a federally contracted facility on May 12, 2020, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department told the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.
Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Divers responded to a report of a “super aggressive” migrant teenager refusing to attend class at the Southwest Key Casa Blanca shelter in San Antonio, Texas, according to Reveal News. The boy was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car, Reveal reported.
“Deputies gave the juvenile verbal commands and when the juvenile was non-compliant, the responding deputy tased the juvenile and then detained him,” Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Adelina Simpson told the DCNF Wednesday.
“After BCSO learned of this incident, Sheriff Javier Salazar immediately initiated an Internal Affairs investigation to investigate any wrong doing that may have occurred,” Simpson added.
Bodycam footage obtained by @reveal captures the tasering of a migrant child at a shelter. (cw: violence) pic.twitter.com/KaUbK1fMXj
— Reveal (@reveal) June 8, 2021
Facility staff told Divers the boy was “acting really crazy” and “breaking stuff” when he arrived on the scene, body camera footage obtained by Reveal News shows. The outlet said it reviewed over four hours of video footage and posted an edited clip.
Former interim facility Director Ricardo Cisneros told officials he wanted to press charges against the boy so Divers called his partner Deputy Harold Schneider, Reveal News reported.
“Ready? I’m going to tase this kid,” Divers told the Spanish-speaking boy in English, Reveal News reported. Divers hadn’t told him whether he was under arrest but ordered him to stand up and turn around, Reveal News reported.
The boy stood up to adjust his pants and Divers deployed his taser for 35 seconds despite the boy not resisting arrest, according to Reveal News. Schneider placed the boy in handcuffs and called him “el stupido.”
Cisneros told Divers the boy broke two bed frames and three plastic bins worth $500 that needed to be removed since the boy could have used the items to harm himself, according to Reveal News.
Divers was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation on May 21, Simpson told the DCNF. Simpson did not say whether the boy was formally charged, but said the department would not release the video due to the investigation and since the subject is a minor.
Bexar County Sergeant Abraham Abraham reportedly asked Reveal News to destroy the body camera footage obtained by the outlet through a public records request since a minor was involved, the news outlet claimed. The company operating the facility, Southwest Key, declined to comment on the incident to Reveal News since it would violate the privacy of children in their custody.
“When law enforcement is present, we respect their authority and judgement on how to handle the situation and what approach officers take,” Southwest Key spokesperson Kasey El-Chayeb said, Reveal News reported. “The decision on whether to arrest an individual is a law enforcement decision.”
El-Chayeb said staff members are trained for crisis intervention and instructed to contact law enforcement officials as a last resort, Reveal News reported.
The Southwest Key Programs and the Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.