This past Monday, April 29, 2019, around 10 p.m., Sgt. Travis Baker encountered Freddy Espinoza Jr. (AGE 30) as he was speeding down W. Wheeler Avenue. Sgt. Baker went to pull Freddy Espinoza’s vehicle over for the traffic violation.
As they traveled north on FM 1069 from W. Wheeler, Freddy Espinoza decided he was going to try and run for it. He quickly changed his mind and pulled over.
Unaware of Freddy Espinoza’s condition, Sgt. Baker exercised caution and instructed him to remain inside his vehicle while keeping his hands visible until assistance arrived. Freddy Espinoza was very agitated, highly intoxicated, and acting verbally aggressive toward Sgt. Baker.
Based on continued de-escalation training and tactics, Sgt. Baker worked to minimize the potential for a violent confrontation between Freddy Espinoza and himself. A one-on-one confrontation under circumstances like this would surely have lead to serious injuries to Freddy Espinoza and even possibly Sgt. Baker. Further, it’s events like this across the nation where less experienced/trained officers, unlike Sgt. Baker, have a greater tendency to overreact too swiftly or without proper de-escalation techniques which can lead up to the shooting death of the offender, or even the officer. “I am proud to say, however, my department and staff receive extensive training each year. It’s not uncommon for an officer or police department employee to received in excess of a hundred hours of quality training each year.”
“I am proud to say my department and staff receive extensive training each year. It’s not uncommon for an officer or police department employee to receive in excess of a hundred hours of quality training each year.”– Chief Eric Blanchard
Freddy Espinoza eventually exited the vehicle and was guarded at taser point. He remained vulgar and aggressive in his actions as Sgt. Baker attempted to keep him at bay at the rear of his vehicle. At one point, Freddy Espinoza pulled down his pants, exposed his butt, and even threw his marijuana cigarette at Sgt. Baker along with other items removed from his pocket.
Once assisting officers arrived on the scene, Freddy Espinoza was forced to the ground, secured in handcuffs and placed inside the police vehicle. Freddy Espinoza ultimately had to be treated by an area emergency department for his high level of intoxication before being booked into jail.
Freddy Espinoza was charged with the following offenses:
- Driving while intoxicated with an open container – Misdemeanor (BOND $5,000),
- Resisting arrest search or transport – Misdemeanor (BOND $5,000),
- Evading arrest/detention with a vehicle – Felony (BOND $20,000), and
- Obstruction/retaliation – Felony (BOND $50,000) for threats made against officers and their families.
My purpose of sharing this event and video with you is to help illustrate the level of skilled, trained tolerance and risk my staff endures daily. Aransas Pass is fortunate to have some of the best and brightest in the business working for them each and every day. It’s not an easy job, especially when you have to set aside internal emotions that tend to get the best of you while enduring high levels of berating, threats, and ridicule as Sgt. Baker did during this situation. Over time and without constructive means of release, these types of events will take their toll on even the most thickest-skinned of us all.
Please, be sure to thank an officer or public safety employee when you see them. Your appreciation goes a long way, and they are working harder than ever for each and every one of you.
CAUTION: Video contains explicit language. You have been warned.