Ryan Hartman, former police sergeant of beleaguered San Marcos, who was fired from his job in January, will not be allowed to return to the force, a hearing examiner ruled Thursday.
Hartman, who had worked for the ministry since 2007, was under surveillance since June 2020 when he was involved in a fatal collision while off duty at Lockhart, and after using a stun gun on a civilian during a traffic stop in January 2021.
He faces two separate civil lawsuits over the incidents: one filed by crash survivor Pam Watts and the other by Albian Leyva, who alleges Hartman used excessive force against him during the stoppage. the circulation.
However, Hartman was fired from the police due to misconduct related to breaches of duty and insubordination, San Marcos city officials said. An internal investigation led by Police Cmdr. Lee Leonard found several instances where Hartman failed to complete the paperwork.
The American statesman tried to reach Hartman’s attorney, but was unsuccessful.
Under the local government code, a police officer who has been suspended for an indefinite period can appeal against this sanction to an independent third party. This hearing took place in April over two days in San Marcos with arbitrator Bill Detwiler.
During the hearing, several witnesses from the San Marcos Police Department, including Leonard, testified to Hartman’s misconduct related to his performance as a sergeant, including failing to complete officer assessments. and field reports.
Cmdt. Tiffany Williams, who worked with Hartman, testified in April that Hartman had longstanding time management issues and still had several incomplete police assessments and other reports.
She had tried to strategize with Hartman on how to solve her problems and offered to help her with her reports by removing certain tasks from her plate, Williams said. But even then he was still unable to do his job, she said.
“I had nothing left in my tool bag to give him,” Williams said in April.
At the April hearing, Hartman admitted to having issues with time management and organization, which he says were exacerbated after the June 10, 2020 accident that killed a woman.
Authorities investigating the crash said Hartman, who was off duty in his personal van, was speeding when he drove through a stop sign and collided with Pamela Watts and her partner, Jennifer Miller, at the intersection of Texas 130 and Maple Street in Lockhart.
Miller died at the scene, but Watts survived with serious injuries.
An open beer container was later discovered in Hartman’s center console, according to the incident report. Police suspected Hartman of driving while intoxicated and charged him with criminally negligent homicide.
But his blood toxicology report, which was commissioned hours after the crash, came back clean and a Caldwell County grand jury declined to indict him in December 2020.
Hartman, in moving testimony in April, said he suffered from mental health issues related to the accident that affected his family and work life, and which contributed to delays in his paperwork.
A letter from Hartman’s psychiatrist, written three months after his suspension, diagnosed Hartman with trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety in relation to the 2020 crash. Hartman said that he had started seeing this doctor immediately after the accident and had been in therapy ever since.
He also testified that after the June 2020 crash, he received a lot of hate mail and lacked sleep, which discouraged him.
Detwiler, in his decision Thursday, found that Hartman “had and has long-standing shortcomings in time management and responsiveness before and after his car accident.”
“These arguments do not mitigate the facts in evidence that Hartman failed to respond to orders in a timely manner or complete required reports,” Detwiler said in a written report.
Watts, who had lobbied for Hartman’s ousting and police ban for two years, said she was relieved after hearing the news on Friday but remained worried he could continue to work in another agency.
“I am frustrated that San Marcos officials did not investigate or sanction Hartman for the negligent open container accident he caused that killed Jen, and it is amazing that instead his failure to file the documents in a timely manner was the cause of his dismissal,” she said.
City of San Marcos officials told the American statesman that Hartman’s dismissal from the San Marcos Police Department was permanent. However, Chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code gives Hartman the ability to appeal this decision to a district court in very limited circumstances. He must file an appeal within 10 days of Thursday’s decision.