The Eagle Review - Federal

Cameron County Sheriff Eric Garza Pointed Out Sergeant Before Inauguration for Suspected Loyalty Issues then Demoted Him, Per Complaint

In another case of claimed suppressive actions by the newly elected Cameron County Sheriff Eric Garza; Rodrigo Almanza, a prior Cameron County Sheriff Deputy, has claimed in a US District Court, Southern District of Texas filing, he was reassigned for his outward support of the incumbent Sheriff Omar Lucio during the 2020 campaign year.

The other case with a similar theme was associated with a prior Captain of the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office, Javier Reyna.

Mr. Almanza claims:

“on the night before Sheriff Garza was sworn in, Chief Deputy Gracia gave a speech about loyalty at a swearing-in ceremony for sergeants, specifically saying, “we will hold everyone accountable, whatever loyalties you had to anybody, that’s gone, . . . you disregard with what I just said and then we are gonna have issues.” (Id. at ¶¶ 16–17) Following the swearing-in, Sheriff Garza pointed at Almanza and instructed Chief Deputy Gracia to “take him outside.” (Id. at ¶ 17) A few days later, Chief Deputy Gracia reassigned Almanza to the Jail Division. (Id. at ¶ 21)”

Case 1:21-cv-00048 Document 24 Filed on 11/08/21 in TXSD Page 4 of 23

The matter before the Court and decided on November 8, 2021, was whether Sheriff Garza and his Chief Deputy, Robert Garcia could manage to get the lawsuit dismissed, in their official and individual capacity.

Chief Deputy Garza did have some luck in a partial dismissal of the claim; however, now he can be sued in his individual capacity and not in his official capacity.

The Court made the following decisions:

ORDERED that Defendant Eric Garza’s Motion to Dismiss in his Official Capacity (Doc. 6) is DENIED;

ORDERED that Defendant Eric Garza’s Motion to Dismiss in his Individual Capacity (Doc. 8) is DENIED;

ORDERED that Defendant Robert Gracia’s Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART; and

ORDERED that Plaintiff Rodrigo Almanza’s causes of action against Robert Gracia in his official capacity are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

It is also ORDERED that Plaintiff Rodrigo Almanza’s request to file a First Amended Complaint is GRANTED.

Case 1:21-cv-00048 Document 24 Filed on 11/08/21 in TXSD Page 23 of 23

The complete amended complaint can be found HERE.