I mean, it's not that I don't have anything to say, but I just don't know how to go about saying it.
In the past few weeks we have received various information that seems to amount to nothing and everything at the same time.
Quite frankly, I'm very frustrated.
Frustrated because even though we have received some information, there is more still missing, but as usual, the Sheriff of Zapata County is stalling once again.
This time, he hasn't even responded to our PIA request and we are fixing to, once again, file a complaint with the Attorney General.
In my opinion, the only people who stall this information that should be readily available to the public are those who have something to hide, so...what are you hiding Sheriff Sigi?
Let me begin by letting you know what we have asked for so far.
We wrote the Texas Department of Public Safety to request the full video of David Hartley being stopped in Rio Grande City with a time stamp on it, all the stops made that day, the name of the officers involved in the stop, and other information.
While they told us they would be taking a while with the police stop video, they did submit to us some information that seemed to only confuse the matter more.
One paper had all of the stops made that day by the officers, but it did not include the stop of David Michael Hartley. Here is that document:
Notice that the stop of David Michael Hartley is missing on this report, but now we have an explanation as to why there were three officers present for one stop: One was in training.
Later we received more information. This time, the stopping of David Hartley is shown, but there seems to be some inconsistencies with the report.
The report is several pages long, but here are the parts of the report that are of interest:
For one, it is evident that there is information redacted, naturally, as PIA allows for them to withhold information such as drivers license numbers and such.
Lastly, without those numbers, there is no telling exactly what vehicle it is they are checking, but it is obvious they are checking at one point a Colorado drivers license and a Mexican drivers license at the time when David Hartley was stopped.
The coordinates for the stop also coordinate with where David Hartley was last stopped in Rio Grande City, Texas.
Having said that, the information does not coordinate with what we see and hear in the video on YouTube.
Mind you, we are still waiting, past the required time allotted for a PIA request, for the full video of the stopping of David Michael Hartley.
Therefore, we cannot comment further with confidence that the information they have given us is contrary to what we see and hear on the YouTube video of the DPS stop.
What I can say, however, is that it is very odd that the Hartley's is the only stop made that day in which they had to communicate through a DEL (Direct Exchange Line or private line).
Also of interest is the fact that when we called to find out why the Hartley's were not listed in the first report, they claim it is because that report only includes those stops that resulted in a ticket, but the second report clearly shows that the stops that they DID list on the first report, from what I could tell, some of them did NOT result in a ticket. I do not see what the significance in that could be other than it is very odd.
However, that information is secondary.
Our main point, even though we had other points to check, was that we just wanted to verify for ourselves that the Hartley's were stopped that day and at that time.
That point is confirmed with those reports.
On the other hand, there was also one more bit of information that DPS sent us, and that is an audio that they titled "Multiple recordings.wav", a name that was misleading as there was only one recording in that file that lasted a total of 52 seconds. The audio is just the recording of the officer calling in to check Tiffany Hartley's jet ski, and that in itself, is odd.
Why only one jet ski? Why only Tiffany's jet ski? Why not David's jet ski as well?
Here is the audio recording they sent us, and I'd like to thank a friend who is working with me on this for making this audio into a small clip:
How do I know it's Tiffany's jet ski?
Well, with the help of my wonderful friends who are helping me with this case we were able to verify that the jet ski in which Tiffany came back in is hers.
Here is what we did: We compared pictures and with a little back ground checking online, we were able to obtain information about the jet skis.
Well, I shouldn't include myself in that "we" since my friends did the hard digging. I just compared these pictures:
From the inquiry results on the jet skis, we were able to note that the Jet ski with the TX Number 3671AX has a serial number of ZZN48962E404, which is what the officer is running in the audio clip in the above video (in police talk that's : Zero Zero Nora 4 8 9 6 2 Edward 4 0 4).
In the YouTube video provided online, it is the only jet ski they run also, hence, it seems, they only run Tiffany Hartley's jet ski.
I will let this information simmer for a while as we await more information that has been requested.
We have also received a response from Customs and Border Protection in which, it seems, they are claiming that they do not have any records in regards to the following photograph:
Their response was odd as well because we were fixing to call them to find out what was taking them so long to respond when we received two letters from them on the same day.
One letter saying that they needed more time because they were contacting their field offices to gather the information we requested. Here is the letter:
The very next letter stating they could not find anything that we requested. Here is that letter:
Normally, you get one letter stating they need time to find the information, and then a few weeks later the other letter claiming they found nothing, but both on the same day?
It's almost like they didn't even look, if you ask me.
With that said, it begs the question: Who is lying?
I mean, if it's Sheriff Sigi, then why has CBP not stepped in to say that the Sheriff is lying?
Then again, the Sheriff has lied on other occasions and no one has stepped in to call him out on his lies.
What am I talking about?
Here's a read so that you may understand: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/commit/c640/wtpdf/1108-SigifredoGonzalez-1.pdf
On page 10, Sigi claims the following:
A single mother living in Starr County, Texas, has to hide under her bed, along with her young daughters, every time she hears gunshots in Mexico. Bullets from gun battles in Mexico have struck her home. Figure 7 below shows the bullet indentations to her home.He follows it up with this picture:
And then pictures of the bullet indentations on the walls.
Being from Starr County myself, I found this story odd.
For one, there are few places in Starr County where this could be possible because the houses are just a block away or less from the border. One of those places is Rio Grande City, which would be kind of ridiculous considering that most of the battles in Camargo, Mexico (Rio Grande City's Mexican border neighbor) take place in the city or away from it. The city of Camargo is about 5 miles away from the houses on this side, so unless a bullet can travel 5 miles, wavering around trees and brush, then it is possible. It would also be possible if they have a battle right by the river, an incident that is very rare except to U.S. law enforcement.
About a year or so ago there was one incident on the international bridge in Rio Grande City where residents on this side could hear a gun battle that took place ON THE MEXICAN side, but no buildings on this side were struck, and it was the last known event in Rio Grande City where one could actually say we heard the gunshots. This was back when the drug wars were barely starting and things started to get serious in Mexico. I was the one that called the news station to report on the incident, and it is not the first time that the news has misquoted what I said. People were not rushing back into the store to "seek shelter from the gunfire". It was the workers who work in the back of the H-E-B building and they rushed inside because the sounds of the gunfire could be heard and they had no idea where it was coming from until someone came in to tell them the gunshots were being fired at the customs facility in Mexico. The customs facility in Camargo is about 3 blocks away from H-E-B, so the shots sounded very close.
The reason I called the news station was because this was around the time people were starting to panic, and I admit that with all the rumors going on, I started to panic as well. When I heard the gunshots, someone who had just come back from where the incident took place came in claiming the Mexican cartel were shooting at OUR customs facility and that they were trying to gain access into the US because they were chasing another cartel. While I defend the border from malicious rumors, I also love our border patrol and law enforcement officers and won't stand for any of them getting attacked by drug cartels, so I wanted the news to investigate and find out what happened. Instead, they just reported on the news with the usual exaggeration.
Anyways, for the most part, the houses on this side are protected by miles of fields and/or woods on either side of the border.
Another place where this might be possible is Roma, Texas, but they'd have to either be shooting at buildings intentionally or they'd have to be lousy shooters, as Roma, Texas is at a much higher elevation than it's Mexican neighbor city, Miguel Aleman, Mexico. To see what I mean, check out my diary entry titled "Violence on the Border?" and watch the video towards the end of the entry so you can see the difference in elevation between the two border cities.
Another place where this might be possible is Fronton, Texas, but also, highly unlikely because of the farm fields that separate the two neighboring border cities.
I set out to look for this house anyways.
I drove up and down the border covering miles and miles, through vacant and populated places, for almost two weeks, and all to no avail.
I became frustrated because I had covered almost every inch of the border where this could be possible, not only traveling the areas by car, but also looking for this house via google map through street view from home.
In the end, I decided to dig deeper.
I called the Starr County Sheriff's department and spoke to Chief Pena and asked him if he knew of any such incident in which a house was struck by stray bullets from Mexico in Starr County.
Immediately one could tell that he was not aware of any such incident occurring, and after our brief interview, he down right plainly stated that to his knowledge, no such incident ever occurred, but I should call the Roma Police Department and see if they knew anything about this incident. He did state that every once in a while they get called out to Fronton, Texas to check up on calls where a citizen is worried because they can hear gunshots in Mexico, "but hitting houses [on this side]? I had never heard of that."
Asked if he believed the story that houses were getting shot at on this side by stray bullets from Mexico, he states, "I honestly say...I don't believe that."
So I called Roma Police Department and spoke with Captain Francisco Garcia who also stated that he was not aware of such an incident ever occurring in his jurisdiction in Starr County.
"I think he was talking about some houses, but they were over there in Zapata County", Captain Garcia states.
Really? But Sheriff Sigi is from Zapata County and I'm sure he'd be using his bragging rights if that were the case, not to mention that he not only wrote about it, but he also talked about it as well.
So I set out to talk to the Zapata County Sheriff to find out exactly where this house was at and where he got this information from, but unfortunately, and as always, Sigi was not in his office.
I was first told he wasn't going to be there until Thursday, but then I asked to speak to the second in command, or the person who is in charge during Sigi's absence.
That's when I was transferred over to Captain Sanchez who now told me that Sigi was going to be in and out of the office because his mother-in-law was ill and she "had taken a turn for the worse".
He was not able to help me, so I let him know to tell Sigi I was sending him an email and if he could respond to it. If not, I'd be calling back on Thursday.
I called Thursday only to be told that Sigi was now out of town, "but he was here yesterday" said the lady!
Naturally, I was upset. I don't like being put through the run around, and I told them so too, so after giving them a piece of my mind, I told them what they needed to do, which was take down my questions, get some answers, and when I call back on Tuesday, there should be NO EXCUSE for me not receive those answers.
I checked my email to see if Sigi had responded, and have been checking it ever since, but no response from him. I'm positive he has already seen my email, and you know what?
While I understand that Sheriff's are politicians and sometimes can be busy, the questions are not too complicated and don't require a lengthy amount of time to research. All I wanted to know was the location of that white house in Starr County (what city?), the date and time if possible that the house was shot at, where was our "All pirate attack related incident" PIA, and who gave him that CBP photo of the "suspects" on the boat? He should have information readily available if he is telling the truth. The fact that he doesn't is very suspicious that he is lying because only liars buy time.
I honestly hope that Tuesday will bring us some answer, and if not, then it is time to take stricter action.
Yet, this scenario is very reminiscent of our last one when we couldn't seem to catch Sigi in his office.
We suspected then that he was trying to come up with something to distract from the facts we were finding, and sure enough, he came up with the picture of the "suspects" on a boat.
Now I have to wonder what he's planning. What "new evidence" will he produce for us this time?
Or worse, what travesty will befall our peaceful borders to "prove" his point?
It's not like the Sheriff is a patient man, or an honorable one at that.
What do I mean?
During our research, we came across this lawsuit in which Sheriff Sigi viciously attacks not only a helpless patient that is restrained to a stretcher, but a firefighter who tried to stop him from hurting the patient that was restrained!
Here is the details to that lawsuit: http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/03/23/TexasLaw.pdf
6. On or about March 20, 2009, BUTTERFIELD suffered personal injury resulting from a blow to the face. Mr. Butterfield was pushed and was struck in the mouth by Defendant GONZALEZ’ closed fist.
7. The SHERIFF of Zapata County, Texas, in uniform, during working hours, and most importantly while acting as the Sheriff of Zapata County struck Mr. Butterfield. Additionally, the SHERIFF proceeded to immediately threaten Mr. Butterfield by stating that “if you ever touch me again I WILL KILL YOU!”
8. The incident arose when Mr. Butterfield along with another firefighter, Miguel Sosa, were assisting with an aggressive patient. The patient was handcuffed to a stretcher. The SHERIFF appeared and started striking the helpless man in the stretcher.
Wohow!!!9. Mr. Butterfield witnessed the incident and intervened by putting himself in between the patient and the SHERIFF, which was for the protection of the patient who was defenseless. The SHERIFF then pushed and struck Mr. Butterfield in the mouth and threatened Mr. Butterfield with imminent bodily injury. Several people witnessed the incident.
The report goes on to say that Mr. Butterfield later approaches Sigi when he believes Sigi has already been calmed down, only for Sigi to continue with his threat that if Mr. Butterfield ever touches him again, he will kill him!
Oh, the agony of this report that it leaves out so many questions in need of answers.
Who was this patient that Sigi unleashed his anger on, and why? What business did this man have with Sigi that he would provoke such anger on a Sheriff? Where did this incident occur? Was it at the Sheriff's department, on the street, or at the fire department? Was the patient a jailbird, a mental patient, or someone who got hurt committing a violent act?
We tried to contact Mr. Butterfield, but it was no surprise to us when he refused to answer our letter. With Sheriff Sigi on the loose, I would fear for my safety too. I just hope that me digging up this information does not put him in harms way, but then again, this was public information. It was just hidden away in the spider web of the Internet, which makes me wonder:
Why hasn't the media reported on this incident either?
What powers are being wielded in Zapata County that are stonewalling our efforts to find answers?
It's not like we are asking Sigi to bring down the moon and the stars for us. The information we are requesting should be readily available.
So why isn't it?
The only comfort we have right now is that the Attorney General has already responded to our appeal.
The problem is waiting to find out if Sigi will snub his nose at the Attorney General as well.
Here is the letter the AG sent us:
Let's just hope that from here until then we can find the answers we are looking for before Sigi's temper gets the best of him and he takes it upon himself to respond to our "touching" for information.
Surely if he has no respect for a fire fighter colleague, then what respect will he have for a regular citizen?
In the mean time, he'll continue to prance around like a banshee claiming that our borders are not secure, and he'll be right this time.
Our borders are not secure because he is the corruption that disgraces us all.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more information we are gathering.
Until next time...