Alice police arrested a member of their own department Friday for assault causing bodily injury, Class "A" misdemeanor, from an incident that occurred on Thursday morning at a local bar.
The 14-year police veteran, Rene Garcia was served with an notice of an internal investigation by Alice Police Chief Rex Ramon in response to a complaint filed against the officer, according to a press release from the Office of the Alice City Manager.
The incident in question occurred when Garcia was off-duty.
A warrant has also been issued for Jim Wells County Deputy Elijah Casas.
According to JWC Sheriff Daniel Bueno, Casas has been contacted about the issue and was urged to turn himself in. Bueno stated Casas was on administrative leave without pay at the time of the incident on a separate, non-related incident.
According to a police report for the Thursday morning's incident, an argument between two women over a cell phone was escalating when another Alice police officer, who was off-duty, attempted to separate the women. After the women were separated the officer was struck with a pool stick. According to a police report, witnesses told police the other men, later identified as Garcia and Casas, jumped the suspect.
The Alice Police Department will conduct a criminal investigation into the allegations and present its findings to the JWC Attorney's Office, which would ultimately pursue any prosecution, according to the press release.
Chief Ramon will also conduct a separate internal inquiry into Garcia's conduct and decide whether it warrants discipline.
According to Bueno, an internal investigation at the sheriff's department will depend on Chief Ramon's findings.
City of Alice Police Officers are civil service employees and any disciplinary actions must adhere to civil service procedure, as per Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code. Under state law, only the department head may administer discipline to an employee covered by civil service.
Garcia has been placed on administrative leave without pay as a result of having been criminally charged.
Chief Ramon wishes to inform the public, that the Alice Police Department does not condone assaultive conduct on the part of his officers. "It is the mission of the Alice Police Department to conduct themselves with dignity, and recognize that an officer's personal conduct, both on and off duty, is inseparable from the professional reputation of both the officer and the department."
Garcia was transported to the JWC jail.