The news started trickling out over the Labor Day Weekend that the Texas Rangers had been contacted by the family of a South Texas man who was comatose in a Corpus Christi hospital, another victim of excessive force by law enforcement. Sure enough, the Rangers are on the job, investigating the family's belief that their loved one, Martin Garcia Ortiz, had sustained his injuries in a vicious beating by a Texas law enforcement officer.
That's right: another case of police brutality in Texas. And another instance where either the FBI or the Texas Rangers has had to come into the area to find out the truth of things. It's something that happens far too often here in Texas: law enforcement using excessive force against people - something that we report about regularly.
What happened in this case of alleged police brutality?
According to news reports, 48 year old Martin Ortiz had been at a local bar in Aransas Pass. No worries about a DWI arrest here: Mr. Ortiz left the bar on his bicycle, to ride his way home. It wasn't far. He had no weapon, unless you are afraid of bicycles.
Things took a bad turn around midnight on August 10th. Seems Mr. Ortiz, there on the roadside on his bicycle, was stopped by an Aransas Pass police officer -- and according to family members, the cop pushed Ortiz off the bike only to then beat Ortiz after the man was laying on the ground beside (some reports say underneath) the bicycle.
The Texas Rangers have reported that their investigation reveals three police cars zipped to the scene (that must have been a very scary bicycle) and that some of these officers are now witnesses to the incident. They also report that Ortiz was purportedly stopped because he was weaving as he rode the bike, and his bike didn't have a headlight.
Guess what? All this may be on video. Seems that Aransas Pass police cars are equipped with dash cams, so sooner or later, some member of the press is going to get ahold of those videos and we'll all see what happened.
Right now, we know that Martin Ortiz lies, seriously injured, in Corpus Christi's Christus Spohn Hospital where he spent ten days on life support in a coma before starting to come out of it. It's not known at this time whether or not he will suffer permanent harm from this attack -- like traumatic brain injuries or spinal injuries.
The Texas Rangers are asking anyone who may have information about what happened to Martin Ortiz to come forward, and if you have any information about the Martin Ortiz case, you can call the Texas Rangers directly at 361-364-6239 or 512- 424-2160.