One week after a local trans-gendered woman, described in the arrest warrant as a “Latin Male,” walked into the South Frio police sub-station alleging she had been raped by a San Antonio Police officer, SAPD Chief Bill McManus and two officers met with members of the San Antonio Gender Association pledging to take swift action on the case and work to prevent future assaults.
However, there was no talk about expanding transgender sensitivity training to veteran officers at the Thursday night meeting. Currently, only incoming SAPD cadets receive the four-hour training on transgender issues.
After nearly three years of quarterly trainings by the all-volunteer Police Officers Training Committee, only one session for more senior officers has been held. That meeting exposed innate prejudices among officers, according to training committee member Antonia Padilla, which she attributes to negative interactions with transgender individuals on the job that are likely exacerbated by a lack of exposure to those with less traditional gender expression.
They’re prejudices not typically found among the younger cadets, she added.
The trainings include a definition of terms, brainstorming about stereotypes, and breakout discussion groups. “It’s in these small discussion groups that the tensions in the veteran officers became apparent,” Padilla said. “Most everyone expressed some sort of, ‘Hey we’ve been cops for years and we know what it’s about. We have to deal with it on a daily basis. It’s not pretty and we don’t like it. We just wish it would go away’ is basically what they were saying.”
One officer in particular kept referring to transgendered individuals as a “subset,” Padilla said. “He was saying subset like every 30 seconds. ‘Oh, you’re in a subset this and you’re subset.' I felt, and this is just my opinion, I felt he was actually instead of saying subset he really wanted to say sub-human. I really had to sit on my hands with that guy.
“Just the very fact they feel that way when dealing with someone is going to cause them to have less empathy, or even no empathy, and to feel like, ‘They don’t really matter. They’re not important. And we don’t have to offer them the same level of civil protections … We’ll just treat them as less than human and it’s OK and nobody’s gonna care,” Padilla said.
Officer Craig Nash, arrested on charges of sexual assault and official oppression in the alleged rape, is a seven-year veteran officer.
Nash was arrested the same day a transgendered woman walked into the Frio Street substation at 4:20 am February 25 saying she had been abducted by an SAPD officer and raped, according to Nash’s arrest warrant affidavit. She told an officer on duty that her assailant, later identified as Nash, “wasn’t going to get away with this” and “she ‘had cum up her butt’ which would prove her truthfulness.”
The victim said Nash handcuffed her and took her to an unknown location, where he demanded a blowjob. She complied. Then she said he raped her while in uniform.
After the alleged incident, the woman took the bus to the South Frio substation to make her complaint and was quickly taken to Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital for an examination. At the hospital, “suspected DNA” was collected from the victim’s body and clothing. A search of GPS logs confirmed the vehicle assigned to Nash was in the area reported.
SAPD media officer requested the Current submit its questions about last week’s meeting in writing, but a promised interview didn’t materialize before press deadline Tuesday.
Reverend Mick Hinson of Metropolitan Community Church, whose church hosted the forum and who serves on the training committee, said he hoped the trainings would one day expand to all SAPD officers and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department, but he did not want to comment on them for publication out of fear that potential negative public reaction would jeopardize their continuation. The Current agreed at the start of the trainings in 2007 to delay reporting about them until they got more established at SAPD.
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