San Antonio incident leaves woman in hospital
SAN ANTONIO San Antonio police have opened an internal affairs investigation into the behavior of a veteran officer accused of using a racial slur and beating a lesbian woman who asked him to put out his cigar at a community pool.
Tamara Vaughan, 18, said her jaw was pushed in and she still cannot open it far after an attack by Detective Keith Alfaro, 35, who was off-duty.
Vaughan was hospitalized. She has bruises on her arm that she says are from Alfaro and estimates he hit her 25 times, including putting his forearm on her throat and choking her.
Alfaro was arrested last week and charged with aggravated assault and evading and resisting arrest.
Ed Shaughnessy, an attorney for Alfaro, said the case is pending before a grand jury and that Alfaro has not been formally indicted.
“Hopefully he won’t be,” Shaughnessy said. He added that his client maintains his innocence but would not elaborate.
The July 22 incident happened at the pool at the housing subdivision where Vaughan lives with her grandmother, aunt and uncle and cousins.
According to a written statement signed by Vaughan, she was at the pool with four cousins when the smoke from Alfaro’s cigar began to bother her. When she asked Alfaro, who was on the phone, to put it out, they got into a verbal fight.
Vaughan’s statement said Alfaro then used the N-word against Vaughan, who is black, and made comments about Vaughan’s appearance, saying “You wanna look like a man, I’m gonna treat you like a man.”
Vaughan said she was wearing swimming trunks and a T-shirt at the pool. Vaughan, who is a lesbian, said Tuesday, July 31, she believes Alfaro was attacking her sexual orientation.
Alfaro then allegedly hit Vaughan, who fell to the ground. She said he continued to hit her and then laid on top of her, placing his arm across her neck to choke her. After he stopped, she said she tried to get up but that he then started hitting her again.
During the altercation, Vaughan said her 15-year-old cousin jumped on Alfaro’s back to pull him off of her. Afterward, Vaughan’s cousin was yelling at Alfaro, who allegedly responded, “I don’t speak ghetto. I don’t understand Ebonics. Speak English.”
The incident is being investigated by Bexar County, since it happened outside city limits.
Alfaro’s has been placed on administrative duty during the police internal affairs investigation, police Sgt. Gabe Trevino said.
Vaughan and her father met with San Antonio Police Chief William McManus Tuesday, but said they won’t be satisfied until Alfaro is off the force. “The officer at the end of the day got paid for beating me,” Vaughan said. “I would love for him to be suspended. Fired. Something. But suspended for right now would be fine.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 3, 2007