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Date: June 21, 2018

To: Mayor and City Council

Thru: Human Resources Director, Rosio Marin

From: Det. Karina Verdier

SUBJECT: Investigation on case 2018-000435


_______________________________________________________________________________

INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS:

Traffic Stop

On January 20, 2018, Socorro Police Officer, Rene Marin performed a traffic stop on Diego Salais
who is the son of City of Socorro City Manager, Adrian Rodarte. Mr. Salais was pulled over for
driving over the speed limit on a City of Socorro road. When the officer made contact, Mr. Salais
identified himself with a Texas identification card. The officer asked if he still lived at the address
listed on the identification. Mr. Salais answered that he lived elsewhere and that his mother was the
city manager. Officer Marin asserted that he did not hear Mr. Salais’ response and asked, “excuse
me?” Mr. Salais repeated, “my mom’s the city manager here in Socorro.” Officer Marin stated that
he was not fazed, he ignored the comment, and continued with the traffic stop. He smelled alcohol
emitting from the cab of the vehicle. Officer Marin asked Mr. Salais if he had consumed alcohol, and
Mr. Salais responded that he had had two beers. Mr. Salais stated that he was coming from near Del
Valle High School. Officer Marin asked him to step out of the vehicle, and they both walked to the
back of Mr. Salais’ vehicle. Officer Marin conducted a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (“HGN”) test on
Mr. Salais and determined that he was not intoxicated enough to proceed with a field sobriety test.
Officer Marin stated that he has been on patrol for about three years and three months and conducted
over 100 DWI arrests. Officer Marin is confident that he has become proficient in conducting HGN
tests to determine whether a field sobriety test is necessary. He stated that HGN tests normally require
four clues out of six to proceed with a field sobriety test. In this case, Officer Marin observed distinct
nystagmus at maximum deviation, two clues out of six. During the test, Officer Marin noticed a white

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substance under Mr. Salais’ nose. Officer Marin had him lift his head up, and Mr. Salais stated, “I’ve
been sick, Sir.” Officer Marin escorted Mr. Salais to the patrol unit to conduct a field test for narcotics.
Officer Marin swabbed Mr. Salais’ nose with a narcotics wipe, which turned blue – indicating the
presence of a controlled substance. Mr. Salais denied consuming a controlled substance. Officer
Marin searched Mr. Salais and his vehicle due to the presence of a controlled susbtance. Officer Marin
did not discover any narcotics.

At that point, Officer Marin decided to release Mr. Salais to a responsible party for safety reasons
because Mr. Salais emitted a strong odor of alcohol. Officer Marin indicated that the driver was being
belligerent. Officer Marin tried to convince Mr. Salais to have his mother pick him up. Mr. Salais
refused to provide her phone number and told Officer Marin to arrest him. Officer Marin told Mr.
Salais that there was not enough evidence to arrest him. Eventually, Mr. Salais gave Officer Marin
his mother, Adriana Rodarte’s phone number. Officer Marin called her, explained the situation, and
asked her to pick up Mr. Salais. Ms. Rodarte arrived at the traffic stop and told Officer Marin that he
“didn’t have to do this,” apparently meaning that Officer Marin did not have to call her. Officer Marin
stated he understood but that he was releasing Mr. Salais to a responsible party because there was not
enough evidence to proceed with a DWI arrest. Ms. Rodarte asked Officer Marin how he knew that
Mr. Salais was her son. Officer Marin responded that Mr. Salais immediately blurted the same upon
being approached.

Officer Marin indicated that no one influenced his decisions at the traffic stop. Officer Marin asserted
that from the beginning of the stop until he called Ms. Rodarte to pick up her son, neither Officer
Marin nor Mr. Salais made any phone calls. Officer Marin said his job was not threatened during or
after the incident. Officer Marin denied knowing Adriana Rodarte or Mr. Salais in a personal capacity.
Officer Marin knew Ms. Rodarte professionally because she is the City Manager and was the Human
Resources director when he was first hired. Officer Marin denied meeting Mr. Salais prior to the
traffic stop.

Officer Marin believes that Ms. Rodarte meant, when she told him he “didn’t have to do this,” that he
did not have to call her to pick up Mr. Salais. Officer Marin indicated that there was a possibility that
Ms. Rodarte perceived (incorrectly) that he released Mr. Salais as a favor. Officer Marin asserted that
his decisions were not influenced by the fact that Mr. Salais was Ms. Rodarte’s son. Officer Marin
recalled that Ms. Rodarte sent Mr. Salais to her vehicle to sit with her mother. Ms. Rodarte drove Mr.
Salais’ vehicle from the scene. Officer Marin ended his shift at 5:00 a.m. January 20, 2018.

Officer Marin did not write an incident report on January 20, 2018 as it is not normal practice to write
and incident report for traffic stops that do not result in an arrest. Per normal practice, Officer Marin
logged the events in his daily log.

Traffic Stop Conclusion

Officer Marin made the discretionary decision to release Mr. Salais before calling Ms. Rodarte to
ask her to pick up her son. There is no evidence or indication that Ms. Rodarte used her position to
influence Officer Marin’s decision. Phone records show a single, 1-minute call having been made to
Ms. Rodarte’s personal phone from Officer Marin’s personal phone at 3:24 a.m., January 20, 2018.
Officer Marin’s and Ms. Rodarte’s account of the January 20, 2018 traffic stop are consistent.

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Adriana Rodarte

On January 20, 2018 Adriana Rodarte received a call to her personal cell phone from Officer Marin
requesting that she pick up her son. Officer Marin provided the location and Ms. Rodarte told him
she was on her way. Ms. Rodarte denied asking why she needed to pick up her son or for any other
details. Ms. Rodarte does not remember if Officer Marin provided her with additional details. Ms.
Rodarte denied receiving any other phone calls prior to the incident before Officer Marin called
her.

Once on the scene, Ms. Rodarte asked what had happened. Officer Marin explained the incident
to her. Officer Marin told Ms. Rodarte that her son had been evaluated for possible intoxication
and there were not enough clues to indicate that he was over the legal alcohol limit. Officer Marin
told Ms. Rodarte that he had swiped Mr. Salais’ nose, and he tested positive for cocaine. Officer
Marin informed Ms. Rodarte that a search of Mr. Salais’ vehicle and person yielded no narcotics.
Ms. Rodarte recalled saying, “You do what you have to do, Officer.” Ms. Rodarte stated that
Officer Marin released Mr. Salais to her. Ms. Rodarte drove Mr. Salais’ car. Ms. Rodarte stated
that when she entered the vehicle, she asked Officer Marin how he knew Mr. Salais was her son.
Officer Marin responded that Mr. Salais told him. Ms. Rodarte stated, “Oh my god.”

Ms. Rodarte denied instructing Officer Marin to release Mr. Salais or what decision to make at the
traffic stop. Ms. Rodarte denied that Officer Marin told her or communicated that he was letting
Mr. Salais go because he was the son of the City Manager. Ms. Rodarte stated that to her
understanding, Officer Marin decided not to arrest Mr. Salais and just wanted Ms. Rodarte to pick
him up. Ms. Rodarte denied asking any questions. Ms. Rodarte denied that she was told that Mr.
Salais’ release was a favor. Ms. Rodarte indicated that she has always been professional with all
officers.

Adriana Rodarte Conclusion

There is no evidence or indication that Ms. Rodarte used her position to influence Officer Marin’s
actions during the January 20, 2018 traffic stop. Officer Marin made the discretionary decision to
release Mr. Salais before calling Ms. Rodarte to ask her to pick up her son. Phone records show a
single, 1-minute call having been made to Ms. Rodarte’s personal phone from Officer Marin’s
personal phone at 3:24 a.m., January 20, 2018. Per phone records, there are no calls from Mr. Salais’
phone to Ms. Rodarte’s personal or city cell during the time in question. Per phone records, there
are no outgoing calls from Ms. Rodarte’s personal or city cell during the time in question.
Furthermore, there is no evidence of communication between Ms. Rodarte and Officer Marin or any
other SPD officer or employee regarding the incident since January 20, 2018. Officer Marin’s and
Ms. Rodarte’s account of the January 20, 2018 traffic stop are consistent.

Production and Release of Dash Cam Video and Incident/Investigation Report

The first known copy of the January 20, 2018 traffic stop dash cam video was made on February 21,
2018. Approximately one week prior to February 27, 2018, Lt. Eddie Smith instructed Ac/Sgt.
Rosario to request one copy of the dash cam video from Property and Evidence Custodian, Molly

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Vizcaino-Cardoza. Mrs. Vizcaino-Cardoza produced one copy of the dash cam video and advised
Ac/Sgt. Rosario to pick it up. Mrs. Vizcaino-Cardoza did not initiate chain of evidence, because it
was not normal practice to do so in the absence of a report or case number. Ms. Vizcaino-Cardoza
remembered Ac/Sgt. Rosario’s request for the dash cam video but does not remember whether she
gave her one or two copies. She remembers Mrs. Vizcaino-Cardoza wanting to know “what was
happening” and Ac/Sgt. Rosario explaining that it involved the City Manager and that Lt. Smith
wanted the video.

On February 26, 2018, Carlos Maldonado asked Officer Marin to write an Inter-Departmental
Correspondence detailing the traffic stop. That same day, Officer Marin emailed Mr. Maldonado
asking whether he wanted an IDC or an information report. Mr. Maldonado responded that the
information report would be sufficient. Officer Marin obtained a copy of the dash cam video from
Ac/Sgt. Rosario so that he could use it to write his report given that approximately five weeks had
passed since the incident.

On February 27, 2018, - 38 days after the traffic stop, Officer Marin completed the requested report.
The Incident/Investigation Report was started at 8:33 a.m. on February 27, 2018 and completed later
that same day at 2:21 p.m. Mr. Maldonado was informed of the report’s completion shortly after at
2:38 p.m. by Acting Sergeant, Li Rosario. It must be noted that it is not normal practice to create a
report so many days after an incident. Officer Marin recalls first discussing the traffic stop with Mr.
Maldonado and Ms. Rosa Hernandez in Rosa Hernandez’s office, but did not remember exactly when.
Rosa Hernandez recalled the same conversation and stated that it took place on February 22, 2018.
During that conversation, Mr. Maldonado asked the officer for dates and times in order to obtain the
dash cam video, because he said it might be needed to “cover” the department and the city if the
incident ever came up.

On February 27, 2018, at approximately 5:58 p.m., approximately three (3) hours after the report’s
completion, Daniel Hernandez, Planning & Zoning and Building and Standards Commissioner
appointed by District 4 Representative, Yvonne Colon-Villalobos, called Carlos Maldonado to
inquire about the January 20, 2018 traffic stop of Diego Salais. Mr. Hernandez claimed that an
anonymous caller had just then informed him about the incident. He told Mr. Maldonado that if he
could confirm that it happened, he wanted to have the dash cam video of the stop. Mr. Maldonado
confirmed the traffic stop and the existence of the video. Mr. Hernandez requested help from Mr.
Maldonado to obtain the video quickly because he believed that if he proceeded with the Open
Records request process, it would take too long. Mr. Maldonado explained that Mr. Hernandez would
have to submit an Open Records request. He provided Mr. Hernandez the name of the officer who
made the stop as well as his badge number. At that time, Mr. Maldonado also informed Mr. Hernandez
that, in addition to dash cam video, the officer had, “as a matter of fact,” submitted an information
report on the traffic stop. Mr. Hernandez insisted that he wanted the dash cam video as soon as
possible because the City Manager’s contract was on that week’s agenda and his purpose was to get
to her. Mr. Hernandez then asked if he could “at least see” the video. He said he did not intend to
retaliate against the officer. Mr. Maldonado repeatedly told Mr. Hernandez that he understood his
intentions, but that he could not “circumvent the system” by letting him see the dash cam video. Mr.
Hernandez insisted, and Mr. Maldonado said he would “think about it.” He then invited Mr.
Hernandez to visit him at SPD Headquarters the next morning, February 28, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. to
discuss the matter further. The parties agreed to meet the next morning and said goodbye.

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On February 28, 2018, two additional copies of the dash cam video were created. On that day, Ms.
Vizcaino-Cardoza asked Ac/Sgt. Rosario to deliver two copies of the video to Lt. Smith. Ac/Sgt.
Rosario delivered the discs to Lt. Smith who thanked her and said he would give them to Chief
Maldonado.

On or around February 28, 2018, Officer Marin visited Lt. Smith’s office and observed Smith
reviewing the incident report of the traffic stop on his computer. Lt. Smith informed Officer Marin
that there were already three (3) Open Records requests for the dash cam video. Officer Marin asked
who requested the incident video. Per Officer Marin, Lt. Smith responded that the individuals were
possibly Lorenza Fraire, Daniel Hernandez and an unknown third person.

Security camera video footage was obtained from SPD headquarters for the morning of February 28,
2018. At 9:34 a.m., Mr. Hernandez arrived at SPD Headquarters with empty hands except for his cell
phone. Shortly after, Mr. Maldonado received him and shortly after that, they entered his office. At
9:39 a.m., Anna Robles is seen walking towards the printer, retrieving four freshly printed papers,
counting all four sheets, and taking them into Mr. Maldonado’s office. She walks back out of Mr.
Maldonado’s office and towards her own empty handed. At the same time, Lt. Smith joined the two
men in Mr. Maldonado’s office. Shortly after, Mr. Maldonado and Lt. Smith exit Maldonado’s office
leaving Mr. Hernandez alone for approximately six (6) minutes. They reenter Mr. Maldonado’s office
and after approximately three (3) minutes, they all step out of the office with Mr. Hernandez being
last to exit. Mr. Hernandez walked directly in front of Lt. Smith holding two (2) or more sheets of
paper in his left hand. Lt. Smith did not appear to acknowledge Mr. Hernandez as he crossed the lobby
towards the exit and left the building.

The next day, on March 1, 2018, Daniel Hernandez addressed City of Socorro City Council
during the public comment portion of the regular City Council meeting. Mr. Hernandez claimed
that just then, on his way to the meeting, news reporters presented him with information
regarding recent events going on in the City of Socorro. Later in the same meeting, Mr.
Hernandez spoke regarding the City Manager’s contract asking City Council to consider the
information that the news reporters “are showing” before deciding on the City Manager’s
contract. Constituents Sergio Jaime and Lorenza Fraire also spoke of information that had been
provided to them regarding Adriana Rodarte and her son. Ms. Lorenza Fraire held up a still shot
of a part of the dash cam video as well as the Incident/Investigation Report which she read
details from during her time at the podium.

At that same meeting on March 1, 2018, Adriana Rodarte also spoke to City Council regarding the
traffic stop. Ms. Rodarte stated that no Open Records request was submitted for the records in
question. Ms. Rodarte stated that she did not ask anyone to do her a favor and that a phone call was
placed to her at the officer’s discretion.

On or around March 5, 2018, Ms. Rodarte requested the complete investigation report that had been
provided to the news reporter from Univision and received it. The time stamp on the report was
“2/28/2018 09:39,” the exact date and time that Anna Robles is seen retrieving four sheets of paper
from the printer and providing them to Carlos Maldonado on the February 28, 2018 SPD
Headquarters security camera video.

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On March 26, 2018 then Ac/Lt. Rey located a folder on top of Lt. Smith’s desk that contained three
(3) copies of the dash cam video and two (2) copies of the investigative report. Lt. Smith could not
explain why there were additional copies of the dash cam video on his desk and denied ever making
copies. Lt. Smith also stated that he did not remember requesting copies of the video from the
Evidence Clerk, nor having them delivered by a sergeant directly to him.

Production and Release of Dash Cam Video and Incident/Investigation Report Conclusion

No Open Records request(s) for the dash cam video or the incident report were submitted prior to
their release to the public on or around March 1, 2018.

On February 28, 2018, Lt. Smith falsely stated to Officer Marin that there were already three (3)
Open Records requests for the dash cam video.

On March 2, 2018, Daniel Hernandez submitted an official Open Records request for the dash cam
video and incident report of the January 20, 2018 traffic stop.

Based on witness statements, Lt. Smith requested one copy of the dash cam video on February 21,
2018 and two copies of the video on February 28, 2018. Lt. Smith believed that it was Mr. Maldonado
who asked Ac/Sgt. Rosario to retrieve a copy of the video on February 21, 2018. Lt. Smith’s claim is
contradictory to witness statements.

Based on witness statements, both Lt. Smith and Carlos Maldonado gave instructions to Officer Marin
to make a written record of the January 20, 2018 traffic stop at different times between February 22,
2018 and February 26, 2018. Based on witness statements, reports are not completed, and case
numbers are not typically assigned for traffic stops.

Carlos Maldonado and Lt. Smith both understood that Daniel Hernandez intended to acquire the
dash cam video and any other information related to the traffic stop to harm Ms. Rodarte’s position
as City Manager. Carlos Maldonado assisted Daniel Hernandez in releasing protected information
related to the traffic stop in order to intentionally harm Ms. Rodarte. He did so in the presence of Lt.
Smith. Lt. Smith falsely stated that he did not stay for the entire meeting between Mr. Hernandez and
Mr. Maldonado on February 28, 2018 because he could not take any more of Mr. Hernandez’s
conspiracy theories. Video footage from SPD Headquarters shows that Lt. Smith was present the
entire time.

Daniel Hernandez denied being given the report on February 28, 2018 claiming that they just
discussed it in Carlos Maldonado’s office. Once he was made aware of the security camera video
footage showing him leaving SPD Headquarters with papers in hand, he asserted that he was given
one single sheet of paper from Carlos Maldonado. The video contradicts Mr. Hernandez’s statement
as it shows him leaving with two or more papers in hand. Per Executive Assistant, Rosa Hernandez,
Records Clerk, Anna Robles saw him leaving with documents in hand and expressed fear that he had
left with the report because she understood the rules regarding Open Records requests. Lt. Smith was
present for the entire meeting between Carlos Maldonado and Daniel Hernandez. Lt. Smith never

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reported the collusion between Mr. Maldonado and Mr. Hernandez to the City Manager or Human
Resources.

Daniel Hernandez’s account of how he obtained the dash cam video and report is inconsistent and
untruthful. He intentionally misled City Council during the March 1, 2018 City Council meeting by
telling them, during open comment, that he learned about the traffic stop from news reporters on his
way to the meeting. He later told Ac/Lt. Rey that when he arrived home after his meeting with Mr.
Maldonado on February 28, 2018, the dash cam video and report were on his doorstep and that he
gave the video to the news outlets. He also lied to Ac/Lt. Rey on April 3, 2018 by telling him that he
was given only one sheet of paper when evidence shows him leaving SPD Headquarters with two or
more sheets of paper on February 28, 2018.

Carlos Maldonado and Lt. Smith participated in the creation of the records in question and were
aware of their unlawful release to the public.

Furthermore, the Incident/Investigative Report given to Mr. Hernandez by Carlos Maldonado in the
presence of Lt. Smith had no redactions and included Adriana Rodarte’s address, date of birth, and
similar information about a member of her family. Per the Texas Public Information act, an
employee’s personal information is confidential and protected under the common law privacy
doctrine.

To summarize the conclusion of the findings of the investigation into the January 20, 2018 traffic stop
and the subsequent release of information regarding the same: Officer Rene Marin made the
discretionary decision to release Diego Salais to a responsible party prior to asking Adriana Rodarte
to pick up her son. Adriana Rodarte did not use her position as City Manager to influence Officer
Rene Marin’s decision on January 20, 2018 or anytime thereafter. Carlos Maldonado used his
position to release confidential information unlawfully with the intent to harm a City of Socorro
employee.