Dallas PD release report detailing altercation between Barrientes Vela, state house candidate

Officer wrote that no assault or disturbance was observed in his presence; everyone involved asked to leave the hotel premises

Indicted ex-constable Michelle Barrientes Vela in court last week. (Adam B. Higgins, KSAT)

DALLAS – Dallas police late Thursday released a 10-page report detailing an altercation outside a hotel earlier this month involving Michelle Barrientes Vela that led to the indicted ex-constable being barred from leaving Bexar County ahead of her public corruption trial next month.

The report states that an officer working an off-duty job at the Omni Dallas Hotel was flagged down by Barrientes Vela, 48, and a woman identified as Norma Villarreal on July 15 just before 10 p.m.

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The pair told the officer that Pharaoh Clark, a San Antonio community advocate, confronted them in a “very aggressive and argumentative manner.”

Clark, along with Josie Garcia, the Democratic nominee for Texas House District 124, told the officer Barrientes Vela and Villarreal had pointed at Garcia and told her they would deal with her, according to the report.

The officer noted that no offense occurred and that no physical assault or disturbance was observed in his presence.

Villarreal is Barrientes Vela’s sister-in-law, multiple people familiar with the incident told KSAT Investigates.

The group was in Dallas to attend the Texas Democratic Convention.

After the officer issued all four people a case number, they were asked to leave the premises by hotel security.

The incident caused prosecutors in Bexar County days later to request a bond hearing in Barrientes Vela’s tampering with evidence case.

A judge late last week declined to set a bond, which would have required the indicted ex-Bexar County constable to be taken back into custody, but did set special conditions barring Barrientes Vela from leaving Bexar County or attending political functions of any kind ahead of her trial.

Barrientes Vela must also report to pretrial services once a week, cannot consume alcohol and must submit to random alcohol screenings, according to the conditions set by Judge Velia Meza.

Clark and Garcia had been called to testify last week during Barrientes Vela’s bond hearing but Meza, who called the motion from prosecutors “premature,” ruled without either of them taking the witness stand.

Clark said outside court that Barrientes Vela chest bumped him during the skirmish, describing the incident as an assault.

That claim, however, was not included in Dallas PD’s report.

Barrientes Vela, who faces both felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from her tumultuous 33-month tenure as constable of Bexar County Precinct 2, is scheduled to first go to trial on tampering with evidence charges on Aug. 22.

Barrientes Vela this week posted a series of videos to the video hosting site TikTok, claiming that her civil rights were taken away and encouraging people to attend her trial.

Her attorney, Nico LaHood, released the following statement Thursday evening:

“The Dallas police report verifies our statement that Michelle Vela was present but was not involved in any crime and did not assault anyone. More importantly, a candidate for state representative, and her manager, did not assert Vela committed a crime to the police at the time, but opportunistically claimed to the media she did, after the fact. We wish the District Attorney’s office did a thorough investigation, or at least read the report, before they attempted to have Mrs. Vela arrested.”

One of Barrientes Vela’s other attorneys previously described the motion to set bond as an attempt by prosecutors to further taint the jury pool.

A spokesperson for Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales declined to comment Friday, citing the pending criminal case against Barrientes Vela.

About the Author

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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