SAPD internal affairs probing Helotes bar fight involving off-duty officers

Three women, none of them officers, cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct following Oct. 8 melee

HELOTES, Texas – Multiple San Antonio police officers are being investigated by internal affairs for their possible roles in a fight inside a Helotes bar earlier this year.

Three women seen in surveillance video throwing punches, none of them SAPD officers, were cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct following the Oct. 8 melee inside Pete’s Place Spirits & More, located in the 14700 block of Old Bandera Rd.

One of the women cited at the scene filed a subsequent assault report against one of the SAPD officers, claiming he caused her to bruise her nose and cheek, sprain a ligament in her back and break her glasses after “aggressively” putting his arm around her neck and throwing her backwards during the fight, Helotes PD records show.

Helotes PD late last month declined to file assault charges against the officer with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.

“The complainant is not a true victim as she was a participant in the original fight,” an officer wrote on Nov. 29. He also noted that any statements from the complainant and witnesses would come under question since all of them had likely been drinking alcohol the night of the brawl.

Sources have identified the officer as an off-duty SAPD sergeant with more than 21 years of experience.

KSAT is not naming the sergeant or the other SAPD officers shown in the footage because they have not been criminally charged and have not been suspended by the department for their actions.

What the video shows

Footage of the fight, posted online by one of the women cited for disorderly conduct, shows a group of women arguing inside the bar before they begin shoving one another.

The sergeant accused of assault, shown in the video wearing a light plaid shirt, is seen approaching from the left side of the screen. He grabs a woman from behind and tosses her away.

She then swings several times at him as he moves away from her, further into the fray.

The sergeant and several other people appear to slip and fall as the fight continues.

The woman tossed away by the sergeant then swings several times at one of the women with whom she was first arguing.

A second woman is seen punching the sergeant repeatedly in the back of the head, before he appears to push her into a wall.

The sergeant is held back by a second man before a third man is seen shoving the sergeant, causing him to slip and fall down a second time.

A security guard is then seen walking into picture, as the various groups of people separate.

The three women seen in the footage throwing punches were all cited for disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor, for fighting in a public place, Helotes police records show.

Sources told KSAT at least three of the men shown in the footage were off-duty SAPD officers, all of whom hold supervisory positions with the agency.

The woman who posted the footage said the operator of the bar allowed her to record the surveillance footage from two angles on her cell phone.

She later deleted the footage and canceled a scheduled interview with KSAT to speak about the incident.

None of the other people listed in the Helotes PD incident and assault reports, including the two other women cited for disorderly conduct, responded to phone calls seeking comment for this story.

“We are aware of this incident. SAPD Internal Affairs is investigating any administrative violations and we are working with Helotes PD in sharing information that might assist their investigation,” Sgt. Washington Moscoso said via email.

Helotes police officials this month released a total of nine reports related to the brawl.

Nobody shown in the video aside from the three women cited for misdemeanor misconduct has been charged with professional misconduct or violations of the law.

Helotes police on Wednesday afternoon denied a request from KSAT for a copy of surveillance footage of the fight, claiming that releasing it would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of a pending criminal matter.

“I don’t really want to get involved. I don’t want to say anything bad about those guys,” Helotes Police Department Chief Rob Hunley told KSAT via telephone this month. “We didn’t ask them to come out here and be like that, but they did.”

Hunley said it was his belief, after reviewing records of the brawl, that the off-duty SAPD officers were “drawn in” to the incident.

SAPD officials have not provided a timeline on when its IA investigation will be completed.

You can watch the surveillance video in the video player at the top of this article.

About the Authors

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.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.

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