Updated 7:27 am, Friday, June 10, 2016
SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio Police Department officer received an indefinite suspension in May for an incident last year in which he removed an arrestee’s handcuffs and challenged him to a fight outside his cruiser.
During the Aug. 1, 2015 incident, the officer, identified as Matthew Belver, removed the man’s restraints, let him out of his cruiser and said he would “beat your ass… Are your ready?,” according to dashcam video obtained by mySA.com.
Belver called the man, identified as Eloy Leal, a coward after he refused to fight and, when Leal asked what he was being charged with, the officer responded “I’ll think of something… How about public intoxication, pedestrian in a roadway? Whatever else I can think of.”
Leal was charged with interfering with the duties of a public servant, but that charge was later dropped, according to online records.
After Leal gets back into the car, he asks the officer if he was serious about the challenge.
“You were actually gonna let me fight. Really? Honest to God? One-on-one?”
Belver said he was ready to go.
“You could kick my a–, take my gun, shoot me in the head, I don’t give a f— what you do,” Belver said.
According to suspension documents, Belver was among officers who responded to a shooting around 5 a.m. in the 3100 block of Cahmita Street on the South Side, where he detained a man identified in the documents as Eloy Leal.
The dashcam footage begins with Leal sitting in the back of Belver’s patrol vehicle, where he appears to be talking, but there is no audio of his voice initially.
When the audio begins less than 30 seconds later, Belver and Leal exchange a few words. Leal can be heard saying I’m in the “backseat and now you want to talk all this s—.”
The officer can be heard saying “let’s take the cuffs off,” as Leal sits restrained in the back of a patrol vehicle.
Belver agrees to the one-on-one fight and proceeds to remove the man’s restraints and pull him out of the car.
When Leal does not engage in the fight with the officer, Belver handcuffs him again and puts him back in the vehicle.
“I thought you were gonna fight, like you said,” Belver said.
According to suspension records, Belver called Leal a coward and a “dumb f—” while transporting him to the central magistrate’s office.
The San Antonio Police Department confirmed on Thursday that Belver is appealing the suspension.