SAN JUAN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — An internal investigation revealed a San Juan police officer violated departmental body camera policy after failing to record a call ending in the officer shooting and killing a homeowner’s loose dog.
On Sept. 11, an officer with the San Juan Police Department was dispatched to the 1200 block of South Kansas Avenue in reference to “aggressive canines on the loose,” according to an incident report from San Juan Police Department.
4 INVESTIGATES obtained partial body camera footage from officer Luis Tellez and three additional officers on the scene, further revealing all of the officers’ body cameras had portions of their footage muted.
CBS 4’s Lead Investigator Derick Garcia talked to San Juan City Manager Benjamin Arjona about the body camera violation evidence obtained by ValleyCentral and the dog’s owner Itati Rincon.
Arjona confirmed no disciplinary action was taken after an official report on Tellez’s violation was directed to authorities and city officials.
“He [Tellez] moved the switch up and up switch and actually turn off the camera when the camera was already on,” Arjona said, regarding the official report. As far as disciplinary concern, Arjona said “it is concerning.”
4 INVESTIGATES showed Arjona the evidence of officers intentionally muting their cameras. The evidence confirms the body cameras audio was muted when speaking with witnesses, animal control officers and in groups and shows “MU” on the footage.
Arjona admits he had never seen the footage before meeting with 4 INVESTIGATES.
“I’m gonna look a little bit further into that as to the reason why everybody was muting their cameras,” Arjona said. “It is concerning. If it would happen to me, I want to know what actually transpired since the day they arrived, or the point that arrived to the point that they left.”
The City of San Juan sent the 4 INVESTIGATES request for an official copy of Tellez report to the Texas Attorney General for an opinion to release. The following day after concluding the interview, the law firm of Palacios, Garza & Thompson, which represents the city of San Juan, stated the report in question is “related to an internal investigation” and could be withheld because “no disciplinary action was taken against the officer.”