SAN ANTONIO — A man beaten by three San Antonio Police officers last year is paralyzed from the chest down after complications during surgery to repair his injured spine, his family confirmed to the KENS 5 I-Team.
Roger Carlos, 43, was paralyzed during surgery November 3 at a San Antonio area hospital.
Doctors have performed multiple surgeries on Carlos’s neck and upper spine to relieve pain and pressure from herniated discs, following his May 2014 beating at the hands of two SAPD SWAT officers and a drug task force officer.
Carlos’s wife, Ronnie, told the I-Team Friday that a piece of bone broke off and compressed against his spinal cord during the Nov. 3 procedure.
“Its hard to see it, its hard to believe that something like this occurred over a mistaken identity. That is the hardest thing that has happened to us,” Ronnie Carlos said.
Last week, Roger was transported to a Houston rehabilitation hospital. Friday, hours after his wife sat down with the I-Team, Carlos underwent yet another surgery to relieve pressure on his spine.
Carlos has started to lose movement in his wrists and doctors are concerned it could lead to him having trouble breathing, according to a support page for the family.
“People need to stand up and say something about it. Just because a police officer has a right to do something like that based on a law that protects them, it’s not right, it’s not right,” Ronnie said.
The couple has three sons, all under the age of ten.
“Carelessness, just carelessness of these three officers, not realizing that they ruined his life,” Ronnie added.
The family has hired an attorney and plans to file a lawsuit against the city and SAPD. The family’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
According to SAPD reports previously released to the I-Team, prior to the beating, the three officers were pursuing a suspect in the 10600 block of Westover Hills Boulevard. The suspect was wanted on drug and weapons charges.
Instead they found Carlos, who has no criminal record and was using his phone to take pictures of his wife’s medical practice.
Carlos said during an interview last year he was struck about 50 times, even though he complied with the officers’ instructions and did not fight back.
Besides the neck injuries, Carlos suffered a broken tooth, a large gash above his eye and swelling of his skull. A recent CT scan also revealed a previously undiscovered brain aneurysm, according to Ronnie Carlos.
“It’s physically disabled him. It’s mentally disabled him. He still hasn’t since that day been able to get over this incident,” Ronnie said.
The suspect, Josue Rodriguez, was eventually taken into custody on charges ranging from evading arrest to possession of a prohibited firearm. Bexar County court records indicate Rodriguez was later found guilty of both charges.
A police discipline board recommended 15-day suspensions for all three officers. Chief William McManus, who did not respond to a request for interview Friday, later shortened each of the suspensions to five days.
Two of the officers, identified in suspension paperwork as Carlos Chavez and Virgilo Gonzalez, remain on the SWAT team, the city’s human resources department confirmed Friday.
The third officer has never publicly been identified, due to the confidential nature of his position. All three officers used accrued leave time instead of serving their suspensions.
Friends of the Carlos family have set up a Go Fund Me account to help cover some of Roger’s medical expenses.