By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
More details on the domestic violence charge filed against Place 5 Rio Hondo City Commissioner Joseph “Joe Lopez” have been revealed in a police report.
According to a Rio Hondo Police Department report obtained by the San Benito News via a public records request, Lopez’ charges stem from an incident that occurred on the Fourth of July. Lopez’ wife is the reported victim in the case.
The official police report filed by RHPD officer Katheryn Medrano states the following: “Upon questioning Mrs. Lopez, it was found that the (husband) had caused bodily injury and attempted to choke her with his arm. It was found that she feared that continued family violence would have occurred if police had not intervened.”
Medrano’s report further stated, “It was found that (Mrs. Lopez) wanted to file a report for documentation purposes only for fear of repercussion due to his political and his law enforcement position.”
Rio Hondo Public Safety Director and Chief of Police Weldon Matlock previously confirmed that Lopez did not face arrest for the report.
Rio Hondo City officials have stated that Commissioners did not discuss whether Lopez’ charge affects his seat on the Commission. Mayor Gus Olivarez said, “The way I look at it, this is only an accusation against (Lopez).”
Lopez and his wife, Nelda, were both unavailable for comment as of press time Tuesday.
Lopez was fired as an investigator with the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office on July 7, after the domestic violence incident was brought to the attention of the DA’s office. “Lopez was indicted, and the case was transferred because Lopez was an employee here,” Melissa Zamora of the DA’s office has stated.
Attorney Edmund Cyganiewicz of Brownsville was appointed to serve as prosecutor in the DA’s case against Lopez. Regarding an update on this case, Cyganiewicz was unavailable for comment as of press time. Attempts to contact Lopez’ attorney have also been unsuccessful as of press time.