Photo: Getty Images
  /  08.25.2022

The decision to allow a San Antonio police officer to return to work after a disturbing incident has some scratching their heads. Texas NBC affiliate news station News 4 SA reports that Officer Elizabeth Montoya was fired in 2019 for a 2018 on-the-job violation. While responding to the disturbance call, Montoya brutally beat Kimberly Esparza, who was six months pregnant at the time of the altercation.

According to records, Montoya not only punched Esparza in the head seven times, but she also grabbed the pregnant woman by the hair and pulled her from a car. Montoya then forced Esparza to sit outside on the ground in the rain. Montoya’s only consequence was a 45-day suspension. City Attorney Andy Segovia shared his disapproval for the city allowing Montoya to return.

“We are disappointed with the arbitrator’s decision to overturn the chief’s decision to terminate this officer. The city clearly established that the officer’s conduct was not in keeping with the standards established by SAPD,” the attorney said. Montoya was an eight-year veteran of SAPD when she was caught on camera attacking the barefoot pregnant woman in downtown San Antonio.

Despite footage of the altercation, in March, local news station KSAT-TV revealed that an investigation was unable to prove Esparza was injured during the incident. The officer was asked why she used an open palm to strike the pregnant woman’s head. Montoya replied, “She was screaming in my face and she was very close. And I was afraid I was going to either get spit on or head-butted.”

Officer Joshua Vega was present during the incident and received a two-day suspension for muting his body-worn camera during portions of Montoya’s attack. SAPD discipline records stated Montoya made the pregnant woman sit on the ground in heavy rain for nearly 30 minutes.

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