San Antonio, Texas, January 5, 2017: Today, 290th District Court Judge Melisa Skinner sentenced former Bexar County Detention Guard Avery Lawrence, age 32, to the maximum sentence. In late November, a Bexar County jury found Lawrence guilty of Official Oppression, Assault by Public Servant, and Violation of inmate John Cory Garcia’s Civil Rights.
Deputy Lawrence was convicted of using excessive force when he punched and kneed inmate Garcia while Garcia was incarcerated in the Bexar County Jail. Garcia’s injuries were so serious that BCSO did not wait for an ambulance and took him directly to University Hospital, where he remained for about 10 days. Testimony of a use of force expert called by the District Attorney’s Office demonstrated that Deputy Lawrence’s actions were excessive and were inconsistent with the Bexar County Sheriff’s use of force policy.
During today’s punishment hearing, the State introduced evidence of another incident involving Lawrence where he committed excessive use of force against another Bexar County inmate and may have provided false information in his use of force report. Official Oppression, Assault by Public Servant, and Violation of Civil Rights are all Class A misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year confinement in the County Jail and up to a $4,000.00 fine. Judge Skinner denied Lawrence’s application for probation and sentenced Lawrence to the maximum sentence of one year confinement and a $4,000.00 fine. The sentences for each offense will run concurrently, or at the same time. Assistant District Attorneys Chris DeMartino and Eddie Flores from the DA’s Office Public Integrity Unit prosecuted the case against Lawrence.