Thursday, September 15, 2011

School Cops Gone Wild (Again)—Unarmed Student Killed Near Bus Stop

Last November, San Antonio school cop Daniel Alvarado was told by his superior to stay with the victim and not to search for the suspect in a minor assault near a school. However, according to, Alvarado ignored his boss and chased the suspect into a nearby backyard where he shot and killed Derek Lopez, an unarmed 14-year old boy.

This was not Alvarado’s first blunder. The Northside Independent School District Police Department has reprimanded or counseled him least 12 times since 2006, half of those for not following orders. He has also failed to show up for jobs and been caught lying. He had been reprimanded for making no effort to complete cases. He had been repeatedly reprimanded for insubordination. Finally, in 2008, he was suspended for a day for not showing up for an assignment. He was told that any further missed assignments would result in his immediate termination. He then showed up four hours late for an assignment and was allowed to continue working.

All told, Alvarado was suspended five times without pay, according to Courthouse News, yet somehow was allowed to continue serving as a school district police officer.

The fact that the cop had a long history of disobeying orders and was specifically told not to chase the suspect would suggest that it was not a justified homicide at all but pure incompetence, negligence or maliciousness. The fact that the boy was unarmed would also suggest lethal force was unwarranted. Despite all this, the San Antonio Police Department has ruled that the shooting was justified.

The boy’s mother has sued the school district, accusing the district of acting with "deliberate indifference" by keeping Alvarado on the force despite his terrible record. She is seeking punitive damages for civil rights violations, liability and negligence.

1 comment:

  1. This is the result of lowering the bar for hiring standards for public servants.