Seven seasoned Bexar County deputies have been placed on an administrative leave followed by indefinite suspension for an alleged "hazing ritual."
The incident took place Friday at one of the officers' houses, according to Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, who detailed the event at a Monday afternoon press conference. Salazar said a cell phone video of the "party" shows six officers (six male, one female) using county handcuffs, shackles and a taser to haze a seventh officer. A 4-year-old kid belonging to one of the officers was also filmed playing with the taser — a visual Salazar called "disturbing."
"This was taken as a big huge joke by everyone in the group, including the deputy being hazed," said Salazar. "But it's not to be tolerated, plain and simple. It's not something I'm going to stand for."
The seven deputies are all members of the Special Emergency Response Team, the county jail's version of a SWAT team. Salazar called SERT an elite, hand-picked team of deputies, and said the seven put on leave had all been on the force for a long time.
The county's bargaining agreement with the Deputy Sheriff's Association of Bexar County requires Salazar put the deputies on ten days leave before forcing them to use their own leave time. They won't be allowed back on the force until the two investigations (one in the department's internal affairs office and other in the public integrity unit) have been resolved.
This punishment is a stark contrast to what discipline we've seen doled out at the city law enforcement level. Like when San Antonio Police Department stuck a detective with three days' leave
after physically assaulting his wife or when another officer was handed a three-day suspension for having on-duty sex
with a high school student he was supposed to be mentoring.
Perhaps this is what it looks like when the head of a law enforcement department isn't muzzled by a strict collective bargaining