Dallas police are firing back at State District Judge Carlos Cortez, who criticized the police for arresting him after a dispute with his girlfriend in December 2013. A grand jury declined to indict Cortez on a felony assault charge for family violence on February 20.
Cortez held an exuberant press conference after the no-bill decision in which he reportedly blasted the work of Dallas police officers on the case before calling the aftermath of his arrest "a political hit job."
Cortez and his attorneys said that a rookie officer botched the investigation and prematurely arrested him on the unfounded basis of allegations by his intoxicated girlfriend. A statement from the Dallas Police Department rejects that characterization, among others, and asserts that Cortez "refused to cooperate with the investigation."
On February 20, Cortez appeared on Fox 4 news and shared for the first time a November 2013 cellphone video in which his girlfriend appears to throw herself from his moving car and then blame Cortez for the incident. Dallas police said they had never been informed of the cellphone video's existence until it was played on the news.
The police statement reads in full:
Contrary to recent media reports, senior officers were involved in the arrest and investigation of the offense involving Judge Carlos Cortez and the victim. There was ample evidence of probable cause for the case to be presented to the Grand Jury. Evidence of the victim’s injuries as well as witness statements supported her allegation that she had been assaulted by Judge Cortez.
Responding officers correctly followed State Law and the Code of Criminal Procedure under Article 5.04 as well as the Police Department’s policies regarding the protection of victims of domestic violence. Responding officers arrested Judge Cortez at the scene for the offense of Assault Strangulation Family Violence.
Detectives from the Domestic Violence Unit contacted the victim the same day and interviewed her regarding the offense. Additional statements were taken from other witnesses and a search warrant was obtained to photograph the location of the offense.
Judge Cortez was contacted by detectives but refused to cooperate with the investigation.
The completed case was reviewed by attorneys from the Dallas County District Attorney’s office and was presented to the Grand Jury without the investigating detective being present at the hearing.
The Department was not made aware of the existence of any cellphone video taken by Judge Cortez of the victim on November 11, 2013, until the media reported its existence after the Grand Jury had met on February 20, 2014.