Officers who know Garza described him as reserved and a product of the city’s heavily Latino, working-class south side, where children chase “raspa” trucks that sell snow cones instead of ice cream.
His body is chiseled and face cleanly shaven in pictures on a Facebook page for “Guns & Hoses,” a charity event that features boxing matches between officers and firefighters.
Others do what San Antonio’s chief did with Garza: He put him back on the payroll but relegated him to administrative duties, or what the head of the city’s police union calls “the rubber gun squad.” “They’re basically taking paper clips off paper, filing paperwork or making copies for somebody,” police union president Mike Helle said. You took a good cop that made a lot of good cases and you just put him on a bookshelf. ” Top San Antonio officials insist that Garza should remain off the streets.
“Officer Garza’s actions were so egregious, I was flabbergasted when I received word that an arbitrator had overturned the termination,” San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley said.
The text message popped up on San Antonio police officer Michael Garza’s phone at p.m. His superiors praised him as a rare talent in the gang unit with a gift for undercover work.
“He could go from being a uniform street cop one day to deep undercover the next day.Retired San Antonio police detective Eddie Gonzales shared a desk near Garza in the gang unit and said he often turned to “Mikey” for help on cases.He recalled that Garza could slip on a bandanna and easily infiltrate groups that other officers couldn’t.By the end of his shift in the pre-dawn hours of the next day, the officer stood amid a grim scene.The woman sat in his passenger seat, bleeding from two gunshot wounds.Her ex-boyfriend lay dead feet from his front door, shot in the back.And Garza, with blood-streaked hands, watched as fellow officers arrived and began investigating him.“Fearing for their safety,” it says, the officers fired at him at least four times.In 2006, Garza ordered a man to drop an assault rifle.His supporters would later depict Garza as an intrepid officer who possibly saved a woman and three children.City officials would fault him for drinking on duty, failing to seek medical help for a wounded woman, and chasing down and shooting an unarmed suspect.