San Marcos police corporal charged with aggravated assault

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by Heather Kovar / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 22 at 5:47 PM

SAN MARCOS, Texas -- A San Marcos police corporal was arrested Tuesday and released on $25,000 bond.

Corporal James Angelo Palermo, 40, was charged with with aggravated assault with serious bodily injury for throwing down a 22-year-old pedestrian. The incident broke her teeth, leaving her with a concussion and other injuries.

The police department launched an internal investigation after seeing dash cam video of the incident. Reports show the officer ultimately grabbed her, pushed her against the car, then face down on the concrete.

The 13-year-veteran of the department turned himself in and was arrested in the office of Chief Howard Williams after an arrest warrant was issued.

"I'm not willing  to look the other way when my officers step out of line and do something that's blatantly illegal," said Chief Williams.

Palermo was speaking to the driver he pulled over when Alexis Alpha, a Texas State student from outside Houston, walked by.  The chief says Palermo called the woman back, and chastised her for passing by.

They argued and she then called him a derogatory name.

"Corporal Palermo moved to grab her, and she pulled away. Corporal Palermo then threw her face first into the pavement to handcuff her," Chief Williams said.
 
Palermo told his supervisor about the incident because he had to take her to the hospital, after which he arrested her for obstruction, resisting arrest and public intoxication.

"He was without probable cause to make any arrest in this situation, and his use of force was completely unreasonable and without legal justification," said Chief Williams.

Palermo remains on paid restrictive duty pending completion of the investigation next week.

The Chief added, "It's personally painful to think that any officer, much less officers that work under my command, would engage in this kind of conduct."

The chief wants anyone who witnessed the arrest to come forward; he says dash cam video shows witnesses.

Two years ago, someone else filed a lawsuit against Palermo for excessive force, but it was dismissed.

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