Tarrant County official cited in dispute says she ‘gently pushed’ husband

07/25/2014 12:41 PM

07/25/2014 4:24 PM

Tarrant County Clerk Mary Louise Garcia told police that she “gently pushed” her husband during an argument inside their Fort Worth home last month in an attempt to get away from him.

She also said that Chris Garcia was “extremely drunk” during the June 8 domestic disturbance. Chris Garcia told the Star-Telegram he was not intoxicated.

The elected official’s version of the incident that resulted in her being cited for a Class C misdemeanor assault were revealed in a Fort Worth police report released to the Star-Telegram Friday through an open records request.

Police had been called to the Garcia’s Ridglea home shortly before 3 a.m. on a report by Chris Garcia that his wife was repeatedly hitting him.

According to the report, Chris Garcia told responding officers that his wife pushed him “very hard” in the chest with her hands three times and he demanded that she be taken to jail. The report states that Chris Garcia refused an ambulance and that officers did not observe any signs of physical violence on him.

Officers also noted in the report that Chris Garcia “appeared to be very intoxicated” and had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath and body.

Mary Louise Garcia told officers that her husband had come home very late and was “extremely drunk” when he began to argue with her about her desire to get a divorce.

“Mary stated that she got out of bed and locked the bedroom door where Christopher would leave her alone and stop yelling,” the report states. “Mary stated that Christopher unlocked the bedroom door and continued to yell at her. Mary stated that she gently pushed Christopher out of the bedroom and attempted to close the bedroom door where she could be separated from Christopher.”

Her husband, she told police, immediately called 911 “as if she had assaulted him.”

The report states that a sergeant was advised of the situation and made it to the scene shortly afterward.

A citation for assault by offensive contact, a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine, was then issued to Mary Louise Garcia. She then left, telling officers that she and her two daughters would be staying with her parents.

Lance Evans, Mary Louise Garcia’s attorney, said Thursday that the citation was “the equivalent of a traffic ticket.”

“Mrs. Garcia believes that the Fort Worth Police Department acted appropriately and professionally in this matter,” he said Thursday. “She looks forward to her day in Municipal Court, where I am confident that she will be exonerated of any wrongdoing.”

Chris Garcia told the Star-Telegram Thursday that he had been drinking that night but said he was not intoxicated. He claims his wife shoved him down the hallway because she wanted him to sleep elsewhere and he refused and that he believes she used her political influence to avoid being arrested.

He said officers also never asked to look at his chest, which he claims had hand print impressions from the alleged assault.

The couple are now in the midst of a divorce in which Chris Garcia is alleging that his wife had an affair with an employee in the County Clerk’s office.

County Judge Glen Whitley referred questions about whether Tarrant County policy prohibits such an alleged relationship to County Administrator G.K. Maenius.

Whitley declined to comment on the citation and allegations “because they’re personal matters.”

Maenius emphasized Friday afternoon that the citation against Mary Louise Garcia hasn’t been adjudicated.

“People are presumed innocent until found guilty. Right now this doesn’t affect her current position, nor does it affect her ability to run for reelection,” Maenius said.

Regarding the alleged affair, Maenius said “the county does not have any policies that prohibit consensual relationships between employees.”

He said officials will probably contact the employee that Mary Louise Garcia is alleged to be involved with, and “simply ask him, first of all, if there’s a relationship and second, if he feels he was coerced.”

Maenius said he personally knows the employee, and doesn’t believe that anyone could coerce him.

“He’s a stand-up guy,” Maenius said.

Without coercion, “there is no violation of our policy,” Maenius said.

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