The City has about three weeks to settle out of court with two Canadian tourists who allege two San Antonio Park Rangers called them "fags" before roughing them up on the River Walk last summer. If the City doesn't settle, said attorney Ed Piña, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Canadians, then the case will go to court.
As the Current reported last summer `"Park ranger danger," August 2-8`, Canadian tourists Joey Abbruzzese, 20, and Gregory Malezyk, 19, were strolling the River Walk at about 1:30 am when two park rangers approached them. The rangers allegedly called them "fags," then choked, beat, and scraped the men's heads on the cement before arresting them and taking them to jail. The Canadians were charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The Bexar County District Attorney eventually dropped all the charges.
According to FBI spokesman Rene Salinas, the FBI investigated the incident, and forwarded its report to the Department of Justice. Salinas said the DOJ would notify the FBI only if it wants the bureau to continue investigating the case; the DOJ hasn't contacted the FBI to do so.
Arresting officer Armando Vidales no longer works for the park rangers. According to an Office of Municipal Integrity report, Vidales pulled some cybergender-bending - he admitted to investigators that he sent an email under the name "Mary Jo Hicks" to gay activists and at least one other park ranger to strengthen his case and mislead investigators.
Local activist Dan Castor received an email from "Mary Jo Hicks" who claims to have witnessed the incident from near the Hyatt. The email language strongly resembled the words in the police report.
"You can't fucken arrest me you assholes" and "your just fucken park rangers" stated Vidales in his report; the Hicks version claimed she witnessed the Canadians saying: "Ya fucken park ranger faggots" and used police jargon such as "subject."
Although the investigation revealed Vidales faked the email, it cleared the Park Rangers of any other misconduct, including gay slurs or excessive force.
Look for a follow-up in the Current within the next few weeks.
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