Garcia brothers appeal punishments in beer incident with San Benito PD
Tue, 04 Oct 2011 03:10:00 GMT —
This is Captain Arnold Garcia's third time in two years to face a Civil Service Board over alleged wrongdoing while working with the San Benito Police Department.
The former assistant police chief and his brother Lieutenant Tony Garcia are appealing their suspensions that resulted from a beer purchase while in an undercover unit back in 2010.
The increased number of hearings like this latest one involving the Garcia brothers has been a driving factor behind the complete overhaul of the police department's administrative structure.
Assistant City Manager Art Rodriguez was recently put in charge of the department to ensure policies are strictly adhered to and fairly applied to everyone.
Ex-Chief George Gomez, who testified against the Garcia brothers on Monday, was demoted to captain.
Lieutenant Martin Morales is now S.B.P.D's operations chief.
The former media spokesperson talks about the first big challenge he faces.
"First establish a fair and equal system... Across the board," he said.
Department morale has been low, according to a number of officers who spoke in the past under the condition of anonymity.
Favoritism is a word used by the rank and file member to describe the actions or lack of actions by higher ranking members.
Many believe it's what led to the rise and fall of those linked to testimony at Monday's hearing.
A hearing new leaders hope to limit in scale moving forward.
The appeal hearing is expected to wrap up early Tuesday afternoon.
The Garcia brother's attorney, Mike Lopez Jr., is trying to prove two main arguments:
1) Lt. Tony Garcia, who purchased the beer with a city vehicle, had special undercover privileges as a member of S.I.U.2) Arnold Garcia, a passenger on the beer run, was on administrative leave at the time and did not have to report any possible wrongdoing.
The city's attorney, Rick Navarro, testified that Tony Garcia was not on duty at the time and had no special instructions from the chief to purchase alcohol in a city vehicle.
Gomez testified how then Asst. Chief Garcia was aware of the policy on alcohol and despite being on administrative leave should have reported the incident.