BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Brownsville man accused of ramming into a group of 18 people, killing eight and injuring nearly a dozen, has an extensive criminal history.

George Alvarez, 34, was arrested on eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Brownsville police announced at a news conference on Monday.

At the conference, police showed Alvarez’s previous arrests, which included:

  • 2 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
  • 1 count of assault against elderly or disabled
  • 4 counts of assault causing bodily injury to a family member
  • 1 count of assault of a public servant
  • 2 counts of burglary of a vehicle
  • 1 count of assault causing bodily injury
  • 2 counts of criminal mischief
  • 1 count of driving while intoxicated
  • 1 count of evading arrest/detention
  • 1 count of interference with public duties
  • 1 count of obstruction or retaliation
  • 1 count of possession of marijuana
  • 3 counts of resisting arrest, search or transport
  • 1 count of theft of property

Federal lawsuit case

Alvarez was also at the center of a national lawsuit case in the early 2000s.

On Nov. 27, 2005, Alvarez, days after his 17th birthday, was arrested on a charge of burglarizing a motor vehicle. At the Brownsville jail, a guard said that Alvarez was upset because the telephone was not working. The guard said he tried to move Alvarez to a cell, and that Alvarez attacked him, resulting in him being charged with assaulting a peace officer.

(National Registry of Exonerations)

On May 2, 2006, Alvarez pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight years of probation and six months in a drug treatment program. After failing to comply with rules, he was kicked out of the program, had his probation revoked, and was sentenced to eight years in prison, The National Registry of Exonerations stated.

In 2008, another man was arrested on charges of assaulting a peace officer against the same guard. The man pleaded not guilty, and video showed that the guard actually pulled the inmate down and took him to the floor.

The lawyer in this case discovered another video of the guard being aggressive towards Alvarez, and turned it over to his attorney Eddie Lucio.

“On October 13, 2010, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ, vacated Alvarez’s conviction, and declared him factually innocent,” the post stated.

Alvarez was released from prison 12 days later.

Police display posters of suspect George Alvarez and his criminal history. By Jerry Salinas/ValleyCentral

In 2011, Alvarez filed a federal lawsuit, where the judge found the city of Brownsville liable for not disclosing the video. A jury ordered that the city pay $2 million in damages to Alvarez. However, in 2017, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals set aside the award, and dismissed the lawsuit on grounds that Alvarez had pled guilty and the city could not be held liable.

In 2018, Alvarez’s legal team submitted an appeal asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit of Appeals dismissal ruling, according to the Associated Press. The petition was denied in June 2019, records show.

Other arrests

According to Cameron County records, Alvarez was arrested on felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and obstruction/retaliation in January 2013. The case was dismissed upon a plea to a misdemeanor case.

Most recently, Alvarez was arrested in May 2020 on charges of assault causing bodily injury to a family member. The state submitted a motion and order to dismiss the case the following year.

Alvarez’s bond was set at $3.6 million following Sunday’s crash.