A deputy constable in Bexar County is alleging that fellow deputies delayed his arrest earlier this year to “humiliate” and “intimidate” him into dropping his challenge to Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela in the 2020 election.
Precinct 2 Deputy Leonicio Moreno told investigative reporters for KSAT-TV in San Antonio that Vela was behind the deputies’ actions to delay his arrest on April 30 so local media could be contacted to capture Moreno’s booking into the Bexar County Jail.
Deputies arrested Moreno on felony charges of falsifying two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints, but prosecutors dismissed the charges just hours after the arrest. “We have determined that they don’t rise to the level of committing a crime,” District Attorney Joe Gonzales told KSAT-TV.
The EEOC allegations are the latest of several complaints Vela has filed against Moreno, according to the KSAT report. Moreno filed a lawsuit against Vela late last year alleging Vela has been retaliating against him because he refused her advances in a hot tub in July 2017 in Galveston, the news report said.
The handling of Moreno’s arrest and booking, captured on video, might be a violation of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure’s guarantee of arrest “without unnecessary delay,” the report said. KSAT obtained the video through a Texas Public Information Act request.
“My attorney has brought this issue to the attention of both the district attorney and the Texas Rangers and it’s my hope that they will take appropriate action against Constable Vela for her misconduct,” Moreno told KSAT.
Vela, in her first term as constable, did not challenge the video evidence but said deputies were within their rights to take whatever route was necessary while on patrol to get Moreno to jail. They allegedly delayed the booking by about 30 minutes.