Garland, TX — It’s never a good idea to challenge a police officer to a fight, mainly because they never seem to fight alone, and the penalties for hitting a police officer are severe. But for one intoxicated Texas man, the challenge to fight one officer succeeded and progressed to the longest suspension of any officer in Garland PD history.
Months ago, Noah Lofquis, 37, was drunk and disorderly at the Hyatt hotel. He was arrested and admits to “taunting” officer Donald Fernandez all the way to jail. But when Fernandez arrived, entered the jail, and took off Lofquis’ handcuffs, the officer attacked him, beating him and kneeing him in the face while two other officers held him down.
In a video recently obtained by the CBS Local News affiliate, the officers were caught on camera delivering the beatdown.
Even drunk, Lofquis says he knew better than to fight back. “It kind of seemed a little surreal at the time,” he said reflecting on the moment Fernandez grabbed him by the neck and started beating him in the face.
“I was sober enough at that point to know not to do anything because I didn’t want my situation to get any worse,” Lofquist told reporters.
The gang-style attack left him bruised and cut, with one gash in the back of his head requiring 10 staples to close. After getting medical attention, he spent a week in jail, surely contemplating his missteps in provoking the officer to wrath.
“I feel bad about the things I said… I wasn’t in my right mind at the time I was raised better than that,” Lofquist said. Even with his apparent regret, and instigation of the physical encounter, Officer Fernandez is not exculpable. In fact, he’s the one to blame for beating an inmate who appeared to be half his body weight.
For his crime, Fernandez was given a 56-day suspension, the longest such suspension in Garland PD history according to local news reports. Although it was not the case in Fernandez’ suspension, The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, many suspensions are usually with pay, meaning, in essence, officers are rewarded with a paid vacation while internal affairs determines whether or not the officer should be fired.
Such was not the case for Fernandez who was already facing another internal investigation separate from the one involving excessive use of force against Lofquist. According to the local Dallas-Ft. Worth CBS affiliate;
The officer disciplined for excessive force, resigned days after his unpaid suspension ended since he faced another unrelated internal affairs investigation. His partner received a written reprimand and a supervisor received a three day suspension.
At the time, the beating didn’t seem to faze those involved, with two of the officers reportedly bragging about the beat down dished out to Lofquist. The internal investigation revealed Fernandez and another officer were recorded as saying;
“I got him solid,” and “Yea I (expletive) clocked his ass good didn’t I?”
“This type of behavior is obviously unacceptable. The expectations of our officers is very clear to do what’s right,” says Pedro Barineau Garland PD spokesman.
Two other officers were also officially disciplined With Fernandez’ partner receiving a written suspension and his supervisor getting suspended for three days. Even though Lofquist admitted to taunting the officer, he wonders why he was not criminally charged for attacking him, saying he gives all cops a bad reputation.