Police officers are supposed to be held to a higher standard, even if a spouse they're accused of assaulting no longer wants to press charges against them, according to Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra.
"If the citizens need protecting from police we're in trouble and that will not be in the case in this county," he said.
Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez recently reversed his decision not to forward the case against Officer Oscar Cardenas to the district attorney just because the wife claimed she wanted to work things out with her husband.
The about-face came one week after a series of investigations by Action 4 TMs Ryan Wolf into the questionable practice for accused officers.
"Our protocol has always been that," Chief Dominguez said during a his original interview with Wolf back in November. He went on to say, "We shouldn't change that."
Cardenas, who remains suspended with pay, allegedly beat up his wife, threatened to kill her and caused a busted lip, swollen cheeks, and baseball-sized bruising when he punched her about a dozen times while off duty, according to police reports obtained exclusively by Action 4 News.
The reports also stated how he assaulted her while intoxicated because he thought his wife had been flirting with another man.
"We don't want police officers who are supposed to be setting the standards of law enforcement to be accused of perpetrating these crimes that people there investigate and be called out on," the district attorney explained.
Officer Cardenas' wife dropped the charges shortly after she got police involved.
In instances like this, Guerra says his office determines whether the injuries warrant a felony aggravated assault charge if serious bodily injury results.
The case could then go before a Grand Jury.
That's not the case if the injuries are considered less severe.
"If it's a misdemeanor than I, under my authority, can file the case against the officer and bring him to court and let the courts decide if we go forward or not," Guerra said.
A number of Mission police officers, including one who spoke to Wolf under the condition of anonymity, feel Cardenas should be fired.
The rookie officer in question still faces possible termination with an ongoing internal investigation at the Mission Police Department.
Repeat calls to Cardenas TMs attorney have gone unreturned for a comment.
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