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August 27th, 2008
Letter to Editor: San Antonio man files formal complaint against Officer Stephens

Patrick Greene of San Antonio filed a formal complaint Tuesday against Officer Paul Stephens in reference to the incident on August 5th.  Greene has asked that his four-page complaint to the San Marcos Human Resources Department as well as his letter to the District Attorney be posted here

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Page 1

August 26, 2008

Human Resources Department
630 E. Hopkins Street
San Marcos, Texas 78666
Job line:  (512) 393.8290
Fax:  (512) 393.8074
Telephone:  (512) 393.8060
Howard Williams, Chief of Police
SMPD_Info@ci.san-marcos.tx.us
512.753.2108
512.753.2190 FAX

To: Carolyn Liner Civil Service Director:

I wish to file a formal complaint against San Marcos Police Officer Paul Stephans, for violating  Civil Serice Regulations.  Officer Stephans, through his actions on August 5, 2008, while in the process of stopping
a privately owned vehicle which was speeding on I-35, did violate Local Government Code Chapter 143.

Through his actions, and words, Officer Stephans stated that he did not have any interest in the dogs’ life or death physical condition.  Also, Officer Joyce Bender examined the dog, and concluded the animal was dead.  This officer had no veterinary training which qualified her to make a medical conclusion like that.  However, Officer Stephans
reacted to her conclusion and treated the situation normally.

Officer Paul Stephans did act:
1. Incompetently
2. With discourtesy to the public
3. Showed lack of good moral character(showing complete disinterest in the dogs health)
4. Acting prejudicial to good order(actions which had negative response from the entire country)

Page 2

SUBCHAPTER D. DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
§ 143.051.  CAUSE FOR REMOVAL OR SUSPENSION.  A commission rule prescribing cause for removal or suspension of a fire fighter or police officer is not valid unless it involves one or more of the following grounds:
(1)  conviction of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude;
(2)  violations of a municipal charter provision;
(3)  acts of incompetency;
(4)  neglect of duty;
(5)  discourtesy to the public or to a fellow employee while the fire fighter or police officer is in the line of duty;
(6)  acts showing lack of good moral character;

(7)  drinking intoxicants while on duty or intoxication while off duty;
(8)  conduct prejudicial to good order;
(9)  refusal or neglect to pay just debts;
(10)  absence without leave;

(11)  shirking duty or cowardice at fires, if applicable;  or
(12)  violation of an applicable fire or police department rule or special order.
Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

In addition, Mayor Susan Narvaiz, in her public statement of August 21, 2008, which is attached, stated that Officer Paul Stephans is a veteran of the Iraq War.  I seems to me that his mental health may have played a role in his actions in this matter.

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§ 143.081.  DETERMINATION OF PHYSICAL AND MENTAL FITNESS.  (a)  This section does not apply to a municipality with a population of 1.5 million or more.
(b)  If a question arises as to whether a fire fighter or police officer is sufficiently physically or mentally fit to
continue the person’s duties, the fire fighter or police officer shall submit to the commission a report from the person’s personal physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist, as appropriate.
(c)  If the commission, the department head, or the fire fighter or police officer questions the report, the commission shall appoint a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist, as appropriate, to examine the fire fighter or police officer and to submit a report to the commission, the department head, and the person.
(d)  If the report of the appointed physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist, as appropriate, disagrees with the report of the fire fighter’s or police officer’s personal physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist, as appropriate, the commission shall appoint a three-member board composed of a physician, a psychiatrist, and a psychologist, or any combination, as appropriate, to examine the fire fighter or police officer.  The board’s findings as to the person’s fitness for duty shall determine the issue.

(e)  The fire fighter or police officer shall pay the cost of the services of the person’s personal physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist, as appropriate.  The municipality shall pay all other costs.
Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 149, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.  Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1, § 26(h), eff. Aug. 28, 1989;  Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 890, § 1, eff. Aug. 28, 1989.

Page 4

Police Chief Howard Williams, in a taped interview, stated that Officer Stephans was given a letter of reprimand, and a counseling from his superiors.  After watching the video of the actual confrontation between Officer Stephans and the civilians, I feel that this matter was not handled properly.  Considering that Chief Williams did not even mention the Civil Service Regulations.

In the future, when my wife and I drive to the San Marcos area, I trust that your decision in this matter makes our trip to your city an enjoyable one.

Thank you very much
Sincerely,

Patrick Greene
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Sherri Tibbe
Hays County District Attorney
110 E. MLK Dr.
San Marcos, Texas  78666

Dear District Attorney Tibbe:
I am writing to you concerning the incident on August 5, 2008.
It was San Marcos Police Officer Paul Stephans who stopped Michael Gonzales and his girlfriend Crystal Hernandez, from getting emergency veterinary help for their dog.
Officer Stephans should have given them a police escort to the veterinarians office.  Instead he used his personal opinion of animals to delay the help until it was too late. This was not only unprofessional, it was criminal.

I have contacted the city to bring charges of animal cruelty against Officer Stephans.  They refuse to.  Mayor Susan Narvaiz has stated that Officer Stephans will be reprimanded and given sensitivity classes.  This is definitely not enough, for the crime that Officer Stephans committed.
I am making this formal request to your office, to bring animal cruelty charges against Officer Stephans.

This action by Officer Stephans violated Texas Penal Code Section 42.092 (3), (8)(b) (1)(2)(3).  These are attached as page 2.

Thank you
Sincerely yours,

Patrick Greene

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24 thoughts on “Letter to Editor: San Antonio man files formal complaint against Officer Stephens

  1. What a freaking idiot. Stay the heck in San Antonio and leave us alone here in San Marcos. Mind your own darn business.

  2. I cannot belive someone is going to put this guy down for filing this complaint He has every right to do so. This is America. Some people are not happy with still unanswered questions. You can not sweeo this under a rug and be done with it. It was a life.

  3. If that was my dog, I’d be upset as well. It seems the officer didn’t handle the situation with professionalism or with any respect to the owner. Saying that he didn’t have any training to tell if the dog was dead or not may or may not be true, however, it’s not rocket science. Being a veteran of the Iraqi war myself, I certainly understand the comment of “his mental health may have played a role in his actions in this matter”. He did not do the right thing, plain and simple. But to bring charges of animal cruelty is a little over the top. If convicted, he could lose his livelihood. With respect to the owner of the dog, no person’s job is worth the life an animal.

  4. ENOUGH about the dog!!! NOBODY really cares anymore, it’s over, done, the officer has been punished and TOO MANY people are going over the deep end on this !! Go help out at the animal shelter and be productive!!!

  5. Patrick Greene: You seem to be the kind of guy who has lots of time on your hands and like conspiracy theories. I’m as big a dog lover as any and I can tell you that you don’t have to be a veterinarian to tell when a dog is dead.

  6. You read wrong, Bob. The female officer said the dog was dead after examining it and the passenger claimed the dog bit her finger.

  7. If the dogs owners want to file a complaint then they should do so. I am tired of interlopers who do not live here and have no local context getting involved in our civic affairs.

    Persoanlly I think that the Cheif should make the officers donate some time to PAWS and let this isse come to rest. I really dont think that either officer will ever do anything like this again. Frankly we all learn thru making a mistake. This may have been a huge one but they will be better officers because of it. Every one deseves a second chance.

  8. To all citizens of San Marcos. I have scheduled a community meeting at the San Marcos Public Library, for Saturday Sept. 27th from 3:30-5:00p.m to discuss the city code laws and the Texas State Penal Code Laws that Officer Stephens violated, when he failed to render emergency aid for the dog on August 5th.
    Anyone can contact me at peewee_91762@yahoo.com
    Let’s not let the dog have died for no reason. We have to get the officer fired and prosecuted.

  9. I would like to invite all citizens of San Marcos to a Community Meeting at the San Marcos Public Library. It will be on October 18th at 1:00 p.m. We will discuss the Penal Code that Officers Stephens and Bender violated on August 5th when Missy the poodle died. A petition will be available to sign, so these two officers can be appropriately disciplined for committing Class A misdemeanors and felonies against Missy.
    Any questions contact me at 210-913-5138 or
    peewee_91762@yahoo.com

  10. Patrick,
    The city of Austin has a slogan, “Keep Austin Weird”…perhaps you could move there, or at least take your circus act farther up I-35 to them?
    But honestly, your time would be better spent and more productive to society if you used your energy volunteering at a local animal shelter. That is, if you really do care and aren’t just seeking “15 minutes of fame” for yourself over this incident.

  11. What happened patrick? You first had it scheduled for Sept 27th and now you are having it on Oct 18th! Nobody showed up huh? Cause we dont want you in our freakin town buddy! Stay away!

  12. Not one person contacted me about it, so I cancelled it.
    Then a woman called me up, and told me that in small towns like San Marcos, people usually just show up, and there were many people there. They wanted Officer Stephens and Bender prosecuted for violating the Penal Code for cruelty to animals.
    So, I rescheduled the meeting for October 18th from 1-3 p.m. I also will be having a petition around the city.
    I am also writing a book about the incident, and everything Stephens and Bender did that was wrong.
    If you have any questions you can contact me directly at
    peewee_91762@yahoo.com
    Believe me, this incident is not going to go away, until suitable disciplinary actions are taken against the officers.

  13. From what I saw, there were NOT many people there. 3 at the most… in my world 3 is not alot. And I know 2 of the people there were to speak out against it.
    So your writing a book about this incident? Why, so you can make some money off of other peoples grief? Thats really low if you ask me, and I think others on this board will agree. Do yourself a favor and stay out of San Marcos.

  14. Ed, 3 is infinitely more than the 0 that probably usually show up for his meetings.

    It’s all a matter of perspective.

  15. Stopped for speeding. What was the cause? Oh yeah, they wanted to endanger the safety of everyone on the road merely because their dog was sick. These childish idiots also maintain how they should be immune to speeding statutes because the health of their dog outweighs the public’s right to safe streets and highways.

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