A Really Hard Fall (Update: The Police Definition of a Fall)

According to the San Antonio Current, the hospital staff was under the impression Diego Martinez had been hit by a motorcycle.  After all, how else to explain his injuries?

When his girlfriend tracked him down at University Hospital three days after the arrest, doctors mistakenly said Martinez had been “admitted because he was hit by a motorcycle,” and was in serious condition. McDaniel, the lawsuit charges, “knocked out all of [Martinez’s] teeth.” Martinez also suffered “nasal fractures, trauma to his chest and abdomen, swelling in his brain, and numerous bruises and lacerations to his head, chest, abdomen, and extremities.”
Except the suit wasn’t against some driver, but San Antonio Police Officer R. McDaniel, who explained the injuries in a report following his stop of Martinez for drunk driving.

McDaniel’s report claims Martinez and his girlfriend passenger both exhibited bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and were confused when he approached the vehicle. Both, McDaniel writes in his report, stepped out of the car when he went back to his cruiser to run an ID check.

McDaniel writes that he tased Martinez in the back when he refused the officer’s commands.

“I hand cuffed the driver and pulled him from the [west bound] traffic lane where he fell,” McDaniel writes. “Driver was bleeding from a lacerated upper lip and nose where he fell on the asphalt.”

Sound like a familiar story? If so, then the picture of Martinez afterward  may remind you of another as well.

What is the possibility that a fall on asphalt could knock out all of Martinez’s teeth, not to mention cause all the other injuries he suffered?

While the police report claims Martinez was injured during a fall, his attorney Christopher Gale provided the Current a letter by John Moore, a local cosmetic dentist who wrote, “In 30 years of practice and tens of thousands of patients I have never seen this much dental, skeletal, and soft tissue damage occur in single fall to the ground.” Martinez’s injuries “required an impact far beyond a fall to the pavement,” Moore wrote.

“It is in my opinion impossible for Diego Martinez to have sustained this much damage in a simple fall and the injuries were more consistent with multiple impacts to the nose and mouth.”

Multiple impacts to the nose and mouth? But “R. McDaniel” says nothing happened except a fall, following a well deserved tase. And why is the cop called “R. McDaniel” rather than  Robert or Richie or Raspustin? 

When asked whether McDaniel was still on the force or if he had a disciplinary history with the department, an SAPD spokesman told the Current the officer name and badge number, which McDaniel wrote on his police report no less than four times, does not match internal SAPD records. SAPD had yet to explain the discrepancy as of press deadline Monday.

So the reason we lack a first name for the office in question is that SAPD says no such officer exists?  Well, not exactly.  Even though the SAPD has yet to explain the “discrepancy,” recognizing that it’s a mere discrepancy when a cop fails to use his real name or shield number on his report, the SAPD has reached a conclusion as to a more important matter:

“The incident was fully investigated by the police department and the officer acted appropriately,” said City Attorney Michael Bernard. “The lawsuit is without merit.”

Whew. That’s a relief. Otherwise, one might get the impression that the horrific  injuries suffered by Diego Martinez, from having all his teeth knocked out to nasal fractures and cuts to pretty much every part of his body came at the hands of a San Antonio police officer who couldn’t remember his name or shield number correctly.  Now we know it was just plain, old vicious asphalt.  The people of San Antonio can sleep well again tonight.

Update:  Purely fortuitously, there is a  video on the KSTP website providing a vivid demonstration of the difference between the police definition of a fall and the way everyone else defines it.

H/T FritzMuffKnuckle


2 thoughts on “A Really Hard Fall (Update: The Police Definition of a Fall)

  1. Shelby

    Well, it would if only it had been working properly. Fortunately that would be purely redundant, because we know the officer acted appropriately. Because the police say so after investigating it fully.

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