On May 4, 2016, I published a blog detailing an encounter with the police that Claudia Ordaz and Vince Perez had on September 6, 2015. In my blog post; “Claudia Ordaz and Vince Perez Questioned by Police Officers And Mysteriously Released,” I shared with you details about the incident that I have now dubbed the Whataburger incident. I have filed many open records requests looking for detailed information about the incident and I filed additional new requests yesterday asking for even more information. So far my open records requests to the city and county have resulted in no documents being released to me.
As a result of the blog post, a city official, who wishes to remain anonymous, provided me a copy of a “Blue Team Field Support Services” report detailing what transpired between Claudia Ordaz, Vince Perez and three El Paso police officers. The report raises many troubling questions about why the City hasn’t been able to provide me a copy of the document that clearly exists. It also raises questions about how the El Paso Police Department treats residents under two different sets of standards – one standard for government officials and another for everyday citizens. Finally, the report also raises the question of whether a cover up was initiated to protect Claudia Ordaz and/or Vince Perez from public scrutiny.
I am going to address those questions and more starting on Monday. However, today I just want to give you the opportunity to read the report for yourself.
You can jump right to it by going to this link. Or, you can read what I believe are important selections from the report.
The first thing that stood out for me was that an individual, Jose Corona, jumped out of the car that Claudia Ordaz and Vince Perez were in and “confronted” another driver for honking at them. Two police officers noticed the “verbal exchange” and told everyone to leave the scene. Claudia Ordaz and Vince Perez argued with the two police officers. When Claudia Ordaz “identified herself” as a city representative, the officers requested a supervisor to the scene.
The other statement that caught my attention in the report is “Claudia Ordaz advised the off duty Officers that she was a city representative and did not feel that the officers were handling the situation in a professional manner.”
When the detective, that responded to the call from the two police officers, asked Claudia Ordaz or Vince Perez if they wanted to file a citizen’s complaint against the two officers for “unprofessional conduct” both declined. Perez added “that he just wanted to let it go.”
Another statement by the police officers that stood out for me was Vince Perez being described as being “verbally uncooperative by repeatedly questioning the officers regarding what penal code statue gave them the authority to” ask them to leave.
And finally, “Officer Picardo acknowledged that he made the comment about Vincent Perez being intoxicated, because Officer Picardo stated that he smelled the odor of alcohol on Vincent Perez’s [sic] breath.”
As you read through the report, ask yourself if under the same exact situation would you have been extended the same courtesies as Ordaz and Perez were extended by the three police officers involved? Also, ask yourself, what would have happened if an accident had resulted after Ordaz, Perez and the third individual had left and it was determined that alcohol had played a factor in that accident?
Finally, I am often critical of the news media outlets because for many reasons a lot of the information that is important to voters does not get the proper coverage, if any. Yesterday, in addition to filing additional requests for more information with the City of El Paso I also sent copies of the report to Bob Moore at the El Paso Times, a reporter at KVIA, another reporter at KDBC and finally the news director at News Channel 9.
We will all get to witness first-hand whether the news media outlets believe it is important to report this information to you. I believe it is important for voters to know as much as possible. I am wondering if the news media outlets believe the same as I do.
On Monday, I am going to start discussing two and possibly three important issues that this report raises. The first is the obvious special treatment by the El Paso Police Department of government officials. I believe it creates a system where there are two standards of policing in the city.
The second issue is how difficult it has been for me to get the document. I will share with you the numerous open records requests that I filed and what I received as a response. At the very least, the spirit of the Texas Public Information Act, if not the law itself was violated. This, of course raises the question of whether there is an attempt to keep the incident out of the public realm making this a cover up.