Alvarez was 17 years old, 5'4" and a slight 135 lbs. when he was jailed for allegedly burglarizing a car then attacked and choked by a 200 pound city jailer. The jailer filed an offense report claiming Alvarez attacked him seeking assault charges, but he and his superiors failed to include with the complaint exculpatory video evidence showing that was not true. The blue wall of silence continued even after the evidence was discovered during an investigation by BPD's internal affairs division, making them complicit in the coverup. What's fascinating to me is how the exculpatory evidence was ultimately discovered, a roundabout tale described in the closing paragraphs of the article:
While Alvarez was doing his time, a detainee named Jose Lopez filed a similar lawsuit against BPD "for use of excessive force by its jailers, for the withholding of video evidence, and for the filing of fabricated charges against him," according to the complaint.
Through discovery in the Lopez case, the video of Alvarez was discovered in BPD's internal affairs records, Alvarez says: "Plaintiff George Alvarez's CD was buried inside an internal affairs folder along with the Brownsville Police Report filed against plaintiff," Alvarez says. "Counsel for plaintiff noticed that a police report charging George Alvarez with felony assault was attached to the CD and also noticed that the police department withheld the CD and did not include it as part of the police report. A review of the CD quickly revealed its exculpatory content."
Alvarez filed for habeas corpus and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found him "'actually innocent' of the charges that sent him to prison," according to the complaint.
He seeks punitive damages from the City of Brownsville, Police Chief Carlos Garcia, Jailer Jesus Arias, Sgt. David Infante, Lt. Henry Etheridge and Cmdr. Robert Avitia.Quite remarkable: There were not one but at least two cases where the Brownsville PD Internal Affairs division allegedly withheld exculpatory video to cover up assaults by their employees, one of them resulting in a man being sprung from prison on an "actual innocence" habeas writ. This is the biggest police department on the eastern end of the Rio Grande - how confident does this make you that BPD Internal Affairs is diligently pursuing corruption among their rank and file officers?
Here's a link to Alvarez's habeas writ before the CCA, though regrettably all the documents don't appear to be linked there as one would usually expect.