Prosecutors drop charges against former San Antonio cop accused of kneeling on suspect's neck

Former SAPD officer Michael Brewer was also involved in the 2016 death of a suspect police said was experiencing a mental health crisis.

Former San Antonio police officer Michael Brewer was fired in 2020 following an internal review. - Facebook / San Antonio Police Department
Facebook / San Antonio Police Department
Former San Antonio police officer Michael Brewer was fired in 2020 following an internal review.
Bexar County prosecutors on Monday dismissed felony charges against a fired San Antonio police officer accused of kneeling on a suspect's knee during a 2019 incident, according to KSAT.

A Bexar County grand jury indicted former officer Michael Brewer in March 2020 on a charge of unlawful restraint risking serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony. However, the Bexar County District Attorney's Office opted to dismiss the charges on Monday, KSAT reports.

Personnel with DA's Office were unavailable for immediate comment.

The charges against Brewer stemmed from an incident in which he and fellow officer Andre Vargas responded to a South Side disturbance call. Brewer was lated terminated over how he handled that call.

Brewer's body-cam footage showed him subjecting suspect Mathew Anthony Garza to "unnecessary physical violence" by pressing his knee into Garza's neck, KSAT reports. That story also noted that the suspect was already handcuffed and "appeared to provide no resistance."

San Antonio police records also accused Vargas of using unnecessary force during the arrest when he lifted Garza by his arms while the man was handcuffed. Investigators also said that Vargas' use of a stun gun to subdue Garza "far exceeded" the force necessary to make the arrest.

Both Brewer and Vargas were fired in 2020 following an SAPD internal affairs investigation. However, only Brewer faced criminal charges stemming from the incident.

Brewer's defense attorney, Ben Sifuentes, filed a writ seeking a dismal in the case earlier this year, arguing that evidence obtained at the time of the incident did not match the charges eventually filed against his client, according to KSAT.

It's unclear whether the filing was the reason behind the DA's decision to drop the charges.

However, the 2020 charge wasn't the first time Brewer was accused of using excessive force against a suspect, as reported by the Current. Four years before SAPD fired the officer, he was reportedly involved in the death of a 41-year-old man whom police said was having a mental health crisis.

After the man, Ernesto Carraman, tried to punch another SAPD officer, Brewer repeatedly used a Taser on the suspect, who subsequently went into cardiac arrest, according to police records. Carraman died shortly after paramedics tried to resuscitate him, according to documents.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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