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After investigation, McAllen fires police officer for excessive force; another cop resigns

The McAllen Police Department fired an officer last week after an internal investigation determined he attacked a handcuffed man during an arrest. (Photo courtesy of the McAllen Police Department)

The McAllen Police Department fired an officer last week after an internal investigation determined he attacked a handcuffed man during an arrest.

McAllen fired Officer Ulysses Bautista on July 20, according to a news release from the city. The incident also resulted in the resignation of Officer Luis Zuniga.

According to police department records:

On or about May 13, 2016, at approximately 1:00 a.m., while on-duty, Officer Bautista responded to assist Officer Luis Zuniga who had detained a citizen, herein referred to as Mr.Soto, for suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated/Refusal/Harassment/Resisting Arrest, hereinafter referred to as the instant suspected offense and/or charges. After his detention, Mr. Soto was handcuffed and placed in the back seat of Officer Zuniga's patrol unit While being strapped in the back seat, Mr. Soto struck Officer Zuniga in the face with spit. Thereafter, Mr. Soto was pulled from the back seat of the patrol unit by Officer Zuniga and thrown to the ground. Officer Bautista proceeded to kick Mr. Soto while Mr. Soto was face down and handcuffed on the ground.

Police later took Aaron Soto to a clinic for medical treatment.

According to an affidavit Soto filed with the police department, doctors determined he suffered intracranial bleeding and possibly a major fracture of his left cheek bone.

Soto was taken to a San Antonio hospital for treatment.

"The City of McAllen remains steadfastly committed to continue serving the needs of the community in a manner consistent with all applicable laws, rules and regulations to avoid and prevent similar incidents from arising in the future," according to the news release.

The city released the order of indefinite suspension and police department records on Wednesday morning.


News Release from the City of McAllen

McAllen- The City of McAllen is releasing a video recording and related documents of an incident involving an arrest conducted by officers Ulysses Bautista and Luis Zuniga of the police department, of an individual charged with various offenses, including driving while intoxicated.

Based on an internal investigation conducted by the police department, Officer Ulysses Bautista, who has been with the department since October 12, 2009 was indefinitely suspended from employment effective July 20, 2016. An indefinite suspension is equivalent to dismissal from the department. Officer Luis Zuniga, who has been with the police department since April 20, 2009, has been removed from performing any law enforcement duties and has resigned effective September 9, 2016.

The Mayor and City Commission were fully briefed on the matter on Monday July 25, 2016. The City has also self-reported this incident to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office for further review.

The City of McAllen remains steadfastly committed to continue serving the needs of the community in a manner consistent with all applicable laws, rules and regulations to avoid and prevent similar incidents from arising in the future.

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