Hidalgo County, TX — Officer Michael David Hinojosa, 32, with the Hidalgo County jail, was arrested this week after fellow officers observed him in a sadistic and disgusting act of sexual assault using his baton.
Crossing the thin blue line is an act that does not happen very often, especially multiple officers doing so. However, Hinojosa’s crime was apparently so despicable that his fellow officers all felt compelled to turn him in.
This incident happened on November 1, as an inmate was sleeping on a bench in the jail booking area. As jailers attempted to wake the inmate so they could fingerprint and photograph him, a struggle ensued, according to the criminal complaint filed against Hinojosa.
In the complaint, the inmate stated Hinojosa sexually assaulted him during the struggle with his baton.
A jailer who witnessed the incident filed a sworn statement “confirming that he observed Detention Officer Michael Hinojosa push his ASP Baton into (inmate’s) anus area at least four to five times,” according to the criminal complaint.
According to the complaint, multiple other officers confirmed the inmate’s story and Hinojosa was arrested this week. According to Valley Central, Hinojosa was charged with improper sexual activity with a person in custody, a state jail felony.
Sheriff Eddie Guerra released a statement about the incident on Monday night:
As your Hidalgo County Sheriff, I oversee hundreds of deputies, detention officers and employees everyday, of whom I hold to high standards of police distinction and excellence. I do this because I truly believe that as public servants, we must maintain accountability and trust from the people we serve, to continue the mission of public safety. I am greatly disappointed and concerned, over the actions of one of my detention officers that does not reflect our office’s commitment to these high standards.
After learning of a use of force incident between Detention Officer Michael Hinojosa, and an inmate at our adult detention center, I initiated an internal investigation which revealed violation of protocols, policies and Texas state law. I have since terminated Hinojosa’s employment from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, and also filed criminal charges against him for Violation of Civil Rights of Person In Custody.
I stand behind my promise that I am committed to restoring and preserving the public’s confidence and trust in the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. We will continue to investigate all allegations of employee misconduct, and I will take the necessary and appropriate actions to maintain accountability and transparency to you, the citizens we serve.
However, it was not just “one of (his) detention officers” who was in the wrong here. While it is certainly noteworthy of the officers to have crossed the blue line and turned in their fellow officer, it appears that not a single one of them attempted to stop the sexual assault.
As the one sworn statement notes, the officer witnessed Hinojosa put “his ASP Baton into (inmate’s) anus area at least four to five times.” Why wasn’t Hinojosa stopped after the first time? How can multiple officers stand by and watch a fellow officer rape a man with his baton and not step in to stop it?