Kenneth Valdez, the Special Victims Unit detective accused of mishandling over 130 sex crimes and domestic violence cases, has been fired by San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley released a statement Thursday stating Valdez was terminated for “failing to thoroughly investigate the Special Victims Unit cases with which he was entrusted.
“There simply is no excuse for such improper behavior, and Detective Valdez is not representative of the thousands of men and women in our Police Department who are passionately committed to protecting the most vulnerable among us. I have directed the City Attorney to do an independent review of the Special Victims Unit handling of cases.”
The findings of an Internal Affairs investigation were presented to a City disciplinary review board made up of citizens and police officers. The board unanimously recommended that McManus terminate Valdez, according to Sculley’s statement.
Sculley stated that the SVU case review process began this week, and is being led by Lisa Tatum, former president of the State Bar of Texas.
“We will address any other issues that are identified through the independent review, and SAPD’s SVU will be a better unit as a result,” Sculley stated.
Mike Helle, president of the police union, told the Rivard Report that Valdez has a right to an appeal, which Helle said he believes the detective will exercise.
“I think that unfortunately when the city manager and the chief go public with these types of things they almost put themselves into a little political box,” Helle said. “They’ve kind of set the course [of the investigation]. That’s why we have arbitration … to determine what happened not based on political outcomes, but based on facts of the case.”
Helle went on to say that the City “threw him [Valdez] under the bus before we completed a thorough investigation.”
Mayor Ron Nirenberg stated that the swift action demonstrated the City’s commitment to justice and the proper investigation of crimes.
“I applaud the swift action by Chief William McManus in terminating the Special Victims Unit member tied to the mishandling of cases sent to the unit, and I also fully support the independent review of the SVU’s treatment of these cases,” Nirenberg stated. “The mishandling of these cases cannot be taken lightly, and today’s response was in keeping with the seriousness of the situation. We will ensure that systemic issues discovered by the independent investigation are resolved and justice is delivered.”