Victim's Mother: Officers Should Be Fired Over DWI

Mother of woman killed by drunken officer says chief needs to crack down after latest DWI arrest

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    A woman whose daughter was killed by a drunken Fort Worth police detective three years ago says the department hasn't learned its lesson after yet another officer was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of drunken driving.

    Call for Change After FW Officer's DWI Arrest

    [DFW] Call for Change After FW Officer's DWI Arrest
    A Fort Worth DWI enforcement officer was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving on Wednesday. The mother of a woman killed by a Fort Worth officer convicted of intoxication manslaughter says the department should fire officers for DWI. (Published Wednesday, Jan 2, 2013)

    "It's been three years ago in December," Stella Lopez said. "That should have been a wake-up call."

    Her daughter, Sonia Baker, was killed in December 2009 when Officer Jesus Cisneros' car slammed into hers.

    Cisneros was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was on his way home after drinking with other officers at a Fort Worth bar, police acknowledged at the time.

    After the tragedy, Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead ordered the entire department to undergo alcohol awareness training.

    Early Wednesday morning, Nicolas Ramirez, a Fort Worth DWI enforcement officer, was arrested in Westlake on a DWI charge. Blood alcohol tests showed he had drank more than twice the legal limit.

    Nearly 20 Fort Worth officers have been arrested in drunken-driving cases in the past four years.

    Ramirez's arrest follows the DWI arrest of Maj. Paul Henderson last month in Parker County. Henderson was Halstead's chief of staff and had spoken out against drunken driving in the past.

    Henderson was demoted but still works for the department. His criminal charges are still pending.

    "What is it going to take? Police officer after police officer after police officer," Lopez said. "What is it going to take?"

    Lopez said Halstead should fire officers for drunken driving instead of reprimanding them.

    "Halstead needs to change the rules," she said. "He needs to fire these people (so they) know what it feels like to lose your job because of the almighty alcohol."

    Halstead declined to comment Wednesday but has said he judges each case individually.

    In a written statement after Ramirez's arrest, Halstead apologized.

    "It is extremely troubling that one of our police officers, especially a DWI enforcement officer, has been arrested in this manner," he said.

    Halstead promised the matter "will be handled expeditiously."

    Lopez acknowledged that Halstead can't be a babysitter for every officer but said drunken-driving convictions should lead to automatic termination.

    "Police officers, of all people, are out there teaching us, teaching our young kids to trust them," she said. "And this happens? Who are we to trust?"