Police Chief Delayed Reporting Officer's Arrest: 'We Just Dropped the Ball'

Local 2/Fox 24 Obtains Video of Cop's Arrest, Chief Responds

MIDLAND, Texas (Local 2/Fox 24) - Video of a Midland police officer's arrest from September surfaced in January after Local 2/Fox 24 first broke the story and obtained the video.
 
Following release of the video, the Midland Police Department acknowledged that releasing information about the officer Nathan Garcia arrest four months prior "fell through the cracks."
 
In the video, and according to police records, a Denton police officer's body camera captures the moment Denton police responded to a downtown area of side-by-side bars. Reports show people were complaining to officers about a drunk man trying to start fights and telling people that he had a gun. In the video, Denton officers can be heard searching for the suspected intoxicated troublemaker:
 
"He's very intoxicated," one Denton officer says.
 
"He's around here somewhere."
 
An arrest affidavit and an MPD internal investigation revealed that Garcia was spotted by Denton officers around 2 a.m. on September 4. Garcia appeared to be so intoxicated that he needed help standing up. People also reported to Denton officers that Garcia had urinated on himself.
 
Denton officers found Garcia leaning on another man in front of a bar near Fry Street. As Denton officers approached Garcia, one of the officers noticed that he had a gun in the backside of his waistband. The video also shows that Garcia was wearing a police badge on the front side of his waistband. The chaotic scene escalated when people in the crowd surrounded the officer-on-officer activity. Members of the crowd can be heard shouting that Garcia "is a police officer."
 
One Denton officer can be heard on the footage yelling back: "He's got a gun! And, he's picking fights, and he's drunk! He can't be out here drunk!"
 
An investigation revealed that the gun Garcia was carrying was loaded with 13 rounds. Denton police arrested Garcia for public intoxication, which is a misdemeanor. Garcia was one of three Midland police officers arrested in 2016. Garcia resigned during the internal investigaiton conducted by MPD. (Another one of the three arrested officers had his 2016 charges eventually dropped.)
 
"As the chief, I won't put up with it," Midland police chief Price Robinson sais during an exclusive interview with Local 2/Fox 24. Robinson discussed issues about having three of his officers arrested. 
 
"Of course, it's disappointing." Robinson says. 
 
"All three of them were off duty."
 
He also responded to questions as to why information about Garcia's arrest was never made public until Local 2/Fox24 obtained the video. Midland officials sent press releases out about the other two Midland officers who were arrested but not Garcia.
 
"All in all, it took about two weeks to get everything we needed [reports and information about Garcia's arrest]. And, we just dropped the ball and didn't send one out," Robinson says.
 
Robinson admitted that it was a mistake.
 
"There was nothing malicious about it...this one just took longer, things happened, and, it just fell through the cracks." Robinson also admitted that he learned from the mistake.
 
"We just have to be more careful and make sure that we send that out and notify the public because I think they have a right to know."
 
Local 2/Fox 24 visited Garcia's home twice to get his side of the story. On one visit he told us that he did not have a comment "at this time." On a second visit, a person we approached in the driveway told us that Garcia was not home.
 
Robinson tells us that police should be held to a higher standard. He also expressed how some mistakes make it tough to receive second chances.
 
"There's just some things that happen that are deal breakers."
 
CLICK HERE to watch Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter's reaction to Garcia's arrest video.
 

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