Four San Antonio police officers were suspended without pay this week in connection with an April incident in a local bar.
About a dozen patrons of the bar accused the officers of making wrongful search. The women involved also complained that the female officers inspected their breasts and buttocks.
Two patrol sergeants, Marc Randle and Roy Miller, were suspended for 45 days without pay. Two female officers who serve with the department’s Tactical Response Unit, Yvette Coz and Diane Tritley were each suspended for 10 days without pay.
The patrons are also suing in federal court, claiming that the officers violated their civil rights and searched them without probable cause.
Janice Maloney, the attorney who filed the suit, told the San Antonio Express-News that Chief William McManus’ decision to suspend the officers was an acknowledgement that her clients’ rights had been “trampled upon.”
City Attorney Michael Bernard countered that the suspensions were for violating the department’s policy and that they did not represent an admission on the part of the city that the plaintiff’s rights had been violated.
The severe punishment did not sit well with rank-and-file officers. Last weekend, they raffled two shotguns at a police union picnic to raise money to help offset the sergeants’ loss of pay.
“Losing 45 days of pay is a hardship for anyone,” union president Teddy Stewart told the Express-News.
Other officers told the Express-News that the sergeants were unjustly punished because they did not authorize the searches. They were, however, at the scene.
The suit claims that after the officers searched all of the patrons, the female officers ordered the women into the restroom one at a time. According to the suit, the officers then put on purple gloves and strip-searched each woman.