In this video, you see Lubbock Police officers apparently abusing a Hispanic male who is sitting beside a wrecked Lubbock squad car. You see the first office come up and without provocation, kick Jose Carlos Escarcega-Ysaias in the face, and then the beating begins. Other than to say that it is wrong, I’m not going to comment on that, nor on Escarcega’s unprovoked violent assault on Lubbock Police Corporal Ryan Durrett. Nor will we be discussing it in the comments. On that, we are going to wait and see what the Internal Affairs investigation reveals.
No, what we are going to focus on it the attempt of the Lubbock Professional Police Association (LPPA) to silence a sitting city councilman from calling for an investigation into possible criminal violations by city employees.
Council member Victor Hernandez, after viewing the video at the request of the City Manager, James Loomis, publicly called for an investigation of the actions depicted in the video, as he should have. He is an elected representative of the people and that’s what they hired him to do.
LPPA President Jeremy Jones doesn’t agree, and falsely accused Hernandez of committing a felony in releasing a statement on the matter. Jones feels that Hernandez may have violated “Article [sic] 39.06” of the Texas Penal Code, Misuse of Official Information, which is a third degree felony. Jones is full of crap, what Hernandez did comes no where near meeting the elements of the offense for Section 39.06. To be charged with that crime, Hernandez would have to have intended that harm come to any person (presumably an officer who participated in the apparent beating), have disclosed information not available to the public, for a non-governmental purpose, and the information had to be exempt from disclosure under the open records act.
Did you notice that last part? The information had to be exempt from disclosure? It is not enough that the information had not yet been disclosed, it must be information that the government cannot disclose. The video isn’t it, because the local TV station obtained the video the next day, under the open records act.
This was a straight attempt to intimidate an elected official who was concerned about police beating a suspect without justification. Period.
Perhaps Jones should have looked at the Obstruction or Retaliation statute, § 36.06, Tex. Pen. Code. It seems like threatening a public servant with a bunch of false charges, on account of their duties to represent the people, is a felony. Jones should be aware of that, police use it all the time.
Maybe someone should talk to Jones about his actions.