City Councilman Victor Hernandez Criticizes Lubbock Police Department Officers in Escarcega Case
Friday morning around 11 a.m., District 1 Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez (pictured, left) took to his personal Facebook page to post criticism aimed at the Lubbock Police Department.
Hernandez specifically took issue with the conduct of a few officers who apprehended Jose Escarcega on July 29-30, 2015.
Escarcega is accused of stealing the patrol unit of LPD Corporal Ryan Durrett and driving the Tahoe into an utility pole in an attempt to injure Corporal Durrett.
Durrett suffered a broken leg and other injuries in the incident. When Escarcega was booked into the Lubbock County Jail, there were numerous bruises and scrapes on his face. The booking photo for Escarcega can be seen in this article.
Hernandez called for an Internal Affairs investigation into the officers who apprehended Escarcega and to find out whether or not excessive force was used. LPD admitted an IA investigation was underway in a statement released Friday afternoon.
The full text of Councilman Hernandez's statement can be read below:
AN OPEN LETTER TO JAMES LOOMIS, LUBBOCK CITY MANAGER
August 14, 2015
Re: City Councilman Outraged and Saddened by the Acts of a Few Lubbock Police Officers
As you know, members of the media have requested to be provided with a copy of the video(s) taken on July 29, 2015 and involving Lubbock Police Officer, Corporal Ryan Durrett and suspect, Jose Carlos Escarcega-Ysaias.
At your request, I viewed one of the videos yesterday and was outraged at the conduct exhibited by a few Lubbock police officers who were en route to and at the scene of an automobile accident involving injured police officer Cpl. Durrett and suspect Escarcega-Ysaias.
I was equally saddened by the fact that the acts of a few Lubbock police officers have the potential of tainting our entire police department. Truth be told, the majority of the men and women who serve the Lubbock community, in a law enforcement capacity, do so intelligently, honorably and with a keen understanding of the critical role they play in society.
At this point in time, I am requesting that an internal affairs investigation be undertaken as to the actions of the police officers en route and on scene, to an automobile accident involving injured police officer Cpl. Durrett and suspect Escarcega-Ysaias, with regards to violations of police/city policy and procedure, violations of civil rights, and the use of excessive force.
Having personally donned a military uniform as a Captain in the United States Army, I know the camaraderie and esprit de corps one feels as a member of a unit. Having personally served overseas in a combat theater, during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I know the risks involved in the defense of others.
Nonetheless, in order to maintain public confidence in our police department, those who violate departmental and/or City of Lubbock policy/procedure, or violate Texas or Federal law must be held accountable. Swift investigation of the facts, regard to individuals’ due process rights, and compliance with the high standards expected of police officers should be guiding principles.
In closing, I believe the general public will continue to support our police department if they feel that local government continues to hold our police officers responsible. However, I also believe that the thin blue line can be reinforced by members of the Lubbock Police Department itself, by demanding that their own be held accountable.
Council-member, District 1
City of Lubbock