WESLACO, Texas–Retaliation and vendettas at the hands of a Texas police chief appears to be the motive behind the arrest of a fellow police officer in Weslaco. The arrest gives the appearance of a political retaliation against a union board member at the hand of a police chief from a rival union.
On Monday morning, Alvino Flores, a 14 year veteran police officer and board member of the local chapter of the Texas Municipal Police Association, turned himself in at the police station where he works. He was subsequently charged with two counts of official oppression, one count of criminal mischief, one count of assault and one count of criminal trespass.
“This process is a travesty. Alvino Flores is innocent of these charges and he will demonstrate this when he gets his day in court,” said defense attorney Mike Willis, adding that it wasn’t until Sergio Ramirez became a police chief that his client became a target.
Close to a dozen police officers arrived to the courtroom in a show of support prior to the hearing where they saw their fellow officer walk in wearing handcuffs.
“I don’t want to get any special treatment your honor, treat me like anyone else,” Flores told Municipal Judge Carlos J. Garza during the hearing. Flores’ attorney David Willis objected to the hearing stating that he had only been given the complaint that listed the charge against his client, but not the affidavits with the information that led to the charge.
The arrest comes just days after fellow members of Flores’ union filed a federal lawsuit against interim Weslaco Police Chief Sergio Ramirez claiming he was targeting them in a negative fashion because of their union affiliation. On the other hand, Ramirez promoted members of a rival union that he belongs to into more favorable assignments.
In the lawsuit, 16 police officers out of the 57 in the department filed the lawsuit claiming that Ramirez was abusing his position and violating their constitutional right granted by the First Amendment. Flores, a union board member, is not one of the plaintiff’s in the lawsuit; therefore it remains unclear as to why Ramirez targeted him.
The lawsuit was filed not against the city or the police department but against Ramirez as an individual, the lawsuit obtained by Breitbart Texas shows.
Upon being named the interim chief in in early May, Ramirez demoted one of the union members from captain to lieutenant and the rest he bumped down from the criminal investigations unit to patrol. This move came with a decrease in pay. In addition to the demotion, Ramirez also promoted some of the patrol members from the union he was a member of to the criminal investigation side and had one of his sergeants lead internal affairs investigations into his detractors, the complaint, shows.
Ramirez made a jump from being a police corporal to police chief bypassing several other officers of higher rank in May.
Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter @ildefonsoortiz.