This story has been updated.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar shared a video with reporters Friday that shows what appears to be a jail lieutenant the sheriff’s office employs participating in “unlawful assembly,” he said, during riots at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Salazar did not confirm whether the woman in the video, which was sent to him by KSAT-12 reporter Dillon Collier, was 46-year-old Roxanne Mathai, who works at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center. Salazar launched an administrative internal investigation Thursday after he saw Mathai post to social media that she was at the rally that preceded a violent storming of the Capitol.
In the video, a woman wearing a U.S. flag ski mask can be seen amid a crowd of people. It’s the same mask she wore in photos she posted to social media that day, and the woman’s hair color is the same. It appears she is holding her phone to record the video. At one point she turns the camera away from her face and toward the crowd, and what appear to be plumes of tear gas can be seen.
“If law enforcement deployed tear gas at that point, it’s a distinct possibility that they have already determined … that to be an unlawful assembly and most likely gave an order to disperse,” Salazar said. “If indeed that’s the case and it’s determined that she remained on scene and began filming and making what I believe to be challenging kind of statements, then I take that to mean she was breaking the law at that point in time.
“Granted, I don’t know all the facts about it yet,” he added.
The sheriff has been in contact with the FBI to establish a clearer timeline of the events that unfolded that afternoon.
Mathai is still out of town and will likely be interviewed by Internal Affairs after a 14-day quarantine, Salazar said. “We’ve got video of her right there, she’s at a super-spreader event. … She was already coming in to Internal Affairs on another unrelated case anyway.”
Mathai is currently on administrative leave and has not worked in the sheriff’s office since October 2020. Mathai was a detention lieutenant, a management position, in the Bexar County jail. She is being investigated in connection to an improper relationship with an inmate, though that does not mean a sexual relationship. That investigation is ongoing.
“What we may be doing is letting Internal Affairs handle [the two cases] both at the same time, and let’s see where the investigations take us,” Salazar said.
Salazar has also sent photographs of Mathai to the FBI’s San Antonio division to assist in any facial recognition efforts the bureau may undertake in pursuing criminal charges, he said.
District of Columbia police arrested several dozen people Wednesday, many for violating a 6 p.m. curfew instituted by local authorities, and Capitol police made other arrests as authorities vowed to pursue those involved in illegal acts during the riots. Sixty Capitol police officers were injured during the mayhem, including one who died, according to media reports.
On Wednesday, Salazar said rioters’ actions at the U.S. Capitol were “disheartening.” At Thursday’s press conference, he said he’s looking into what administrative charges would be relevant, including conduct unbecoming of an officer. The sheriff added that he wants to ensure Mathai does not return to his department.
“I think everybody knows where I stand on misconduct, and this is certainly no different,” Salazar said. “Whether it happens here within the confines of these four walls or whether it happens in another state or another country, you break the law, I promise you I’m going to hold you accountable here.”