Attorney, police chief sound off on acquitted officer

Attorney Nat Perez seized an opportunity Wednesday during the client former Brownsville police officer Sonny Pedraza.

Right after state prosecutors presented all their evidence and witnesses, Perez filed a motion to acquit Pedraza on charges of official oppression and tampering with government records, for the public intoxication arrest of a woman last October.

Visiting Judge David Wellington Chew approved the directed verdict - which Cameron County District Attorney officials tell us is very rare.

"There was really one instigator in this case and that one Sergeant who was the instigator, Perez said, I mean really, even his report when he testified was incomplete - there were things that he claimed that were not on his report."

Perez claims the case against Pedraza was all based on a hidden agenda. Something Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez adamantly denies.

"Ultimately he was indicted by a grand jury, and then it was in the hands of the DA's office for prosecution, Rodriguez said. You don't know how things are going to play out in court, but we have a clear picture of what happened and the basis for what happened."

Chief Rodriguez adds he would've liked for the case to have gone to the jury for a verdict, and despite the acquittal by the judge, he said allegations of wrongdoing by any police officer will be taken seriously.

"We expect nothing less than honesty and fair treatment for our citizens regardless of their status, social economic status, their status in the community - whoever they are - everyone deserves equal protection under the law," Rodriguez said.

Perez said Pedraza is a fair and just officer who will be looking to get back his position with Brownsville police.

He wants his job back, he wants his name back, he wants his reputation back, Perez said.

Civil lawsuits are likely to follow, Perez added.