2 San Antonio Officers Fired for Excessive Force, Including Kneeling on Suspect's Neck

click to enlarge 2 San Antonio Officers Fired for Excessive Force, Including Kneeling on Suspect's Neck
The San Antonio Police Department has terminated two officers for using excessive force on a handcuffed suspect who wasn't resisting arrest, KSAT reports, citing disciplinary records.

Officers Michael Brewer and Andre Vargas were both given indefinite suspensions over an arrest that occurred on Nov. 26 of last year, according to the documents obtained by the TV station. Brewer is accused of kneeling on the suspect's neck.

News of the firings comes as SAPD faces increased public scrutiny over officer conduct after nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as he cried out that he couldn't breathe.

The two SAPD officers arrested a man on the South Side after a disturbance call. Even though the subject didn't appear to resist, Brewer inflicted "unnecessary physical violence” when he put his left knee on the man’s neck, according to the documents cited by KSAT.

In addition, Vargas used unnecessary force when he lifted the man by his handcuffed arms, according to the report. Further, Vargas' use of a Taser on the suspect "far exceeded the reasonable force necessary to accomplish the arrest,” according to the cited police records.

The arrested man filed a complaint about the officers in January, KSAT reports.

At press time, it's unclear whether either officer is appealing the firing through an arbitration process guaranteed under San Antonio's police union contract. That process has also come under increased scrutiny since it's allowed roughly two-thirds of officers fired over the past decade to win back their jobs. 

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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