San Antonio cop fired for racist, sexist tirade at funeral home director gets job back in arbitration

click to enlarge The officer was reinstated by a third-party arbitrator. - Shutterstock
The officer was reinstated by a third-party arbitrator.
A San Antonio Police Department officer fired last spring over allegations of unleashing a racist, sexist tirade at a funeral home director has won his job back, according to city officials.

Officer Lee Biegert, a 16-year veteran of the force, was reinstated by a third-party arbitrator, who shortened his indefinite suspension over the incident to just 90 days, the city confirmed.

In an emailed statement, San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia said Biegert's reinstatement is another example of the arbitration process hindering Police Chief William McManus' ability to discipline problem officers. That process has been a sticking point in talks between the city and its police union over a new contract.

"There was no dispute that Officer Biegert made vulgar comments with misogynistic and ethnic overtones to a member of the public that were captured on a recorded line. Behavior most employers in the community would not tolerate," Segovia said. "This is yet another example of how our efforts to set standards that meet community and leadership expectations are thwarted by arbitrators who substitute their judgment for that of the chief."

During a 2020 phone call to the director of Funeral Caring USA, Biegert complained that one of its employees had been rude to a family member, according to a KSAT report based on a recording of the conversation. The officer reportedly blew up at the funeral home's director when she contradicted his version of the story.

"Don’t argue with me. I checked it out," Biegert said, according to the station. "Hey, go [expletive] yourself. You [expletive] Mexic—t."

In tearful testimony during the arbitration process, the woman at the receiving end of Biegert's rant said she'd never been treated that way during her 30-year career, according to another KSAT report.

Biegert's reinstatement follow's another third-party arbitrator's 2019 decision to reinstate Officer Tim Garcia over his use of the N-word and other expletives during the arrest of a Black suspect.

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Sanford Nowlin

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

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