Bloomington man sentenced to 5 years for assaulting deputy
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A judge sentenced a Bloomington man to five years in prison Thursday for assaulting a Victoria County sheriff's deputy.
Pete Montalvo Baladez Jr., 35, pled guilty earlier this week.
Deputy Ernest Castillo, who has patrolled the area for the past 11 years, arrested Baladez on May 11 for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Castillo testified he discovered Baladez drunk in the middle of Edna Lane, his clothes wet and eyes half open.
He said Baladez told him he'd been thrown from a vehicle, which belonged to his cousin's girlfriend, but did not request medical attention.
And, when Castillo was later escorting Baladez from his patrol car into jail, Baladez became unruly. To control him, Castillo pushed Baladez up against a nearby elevator. That's when Baladez, who was handcuffed from behind, grabbed and squeezed Castillo's testicles, said Assistant District Attorney Edward Wilkinson.
"A lot of the times, these guys are trying to fall to the ground and harm themselves to make it more difficult to transport them," Wilkinson said before the hearing.
Defense attorney James R. Beeler said the judge was fair but had a different version of events.
He said Baladez was traveling in the car with his cousin on a beer run when it crashed on Black Bayou Road. He said when Baladez was walking home later, he was run over by a van. Beeler thinks Baladez' cousin accused him of stealing the car so he wouldn't get in trouble.
During the hearing, Beeler asked whether Baladez' actions were unreasonable.
"If he had some kind of injuries (from an accident) wouldn't your actions have irritated him?" he asked Castillo on the stand.
"I react to that person (based on) how they react to me," Castillo said, adding he didn't intend to hurt Baladez.
Castillo said it was a painful 30 seconds.
"A dog that's been run over is going to bite you even if he is a nice dog. It's just a natural thing," Beeler said later. "(The other officer with Castillo) didn't bother to jump in, so that would indicate that this was not a knock-down, drag-out fight."
Beeler also asked why there was no dashboard camera footage that would corroborate Castillo's statement that Baladez had threatened him. Castillo said it had been accidentally deleted from the sheriff's department database after 90 days.
Wilkinson said the sentence was appropriate.
The degree of force deputies use depends on the situation. Castillo, along with his colleagues, were also taught defense tactics, which include handcuffing and controlling prisoners, Chief Deputy Terry Simons said.
"We train officers to recognize what levels of force are, and they're trained to go at least one level higher in force than what their adversary is using ... so if it's a balled up fist, then you use an impact weapon. If they're using a weapon, you respond with more weapon," Simons said.
Baladez also was convicted in 1996 of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.