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We have a jailhouse video THE COUNTY DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SEE. The FBI is already investigating the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office in East Texas for possible civil rights violations.
This is security camera jail video Nacogdoches County did not want you to see. They asked a federal judge in Beaumont to seal it.
Sorry, too late…
Watch as Joseph Hanzich IV is literally thrown into a restraint chair. Jail sergeant Brylee Garza is seen throwing punches at his face while he is handcuffed. This video may spark a widening investigation of injustice and civil rights violations by the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office.
This shocking chronicle of conduct inside the jail back in November 2021 comes just months after we learned the FBI and a federal grand jury is already investigating the sheriff’s office after this happened to Corey Roland, a voluntary witness in a criminal case.
“It’s just us. They act like they’re untouchable,” Roland said in an interview.
Nacogdoches County sheriff Jason Bridges punished no one for this new jail house video we are showing you, and we know the Texas Rangers ignored what happened to Joseph.
In February, we met Joseph and his dad, who claimed that “If they’re doing it to him, then they’re doing it to other people. He is not the first.”
His dad also said that he had called the sheriff’s office to arrest his own bipolar son for threatening to beat him up, but he later saw how his son was treated inside jail. This video shocked him.
He goes on to say, “Knowing what I know how, I would have just let him beat me than have him go through that. It made me angry. They had no right to do that.”
Let’s go to the video tape. Hanzich was in jail charged with a misdemeanor. Deputies claimed he was suicidal. He was ordered to grab his stuff by a deputy, and he leaves the screen after a fist bump to another inmate.
He doesn’t look depressed to me. We switch to a camera in the hallway just ten seconds later… now watch what happens.
In the hallway we are told that Hanzich had refused repeated orders to now drop all of his stuff in ten seconds. Multiple deputies say Hanzich then said, “Let’s go, let’s go play,” and then “turned around in an aggressive manner” and tried to punch one of the officers in the face.
There is no audio, but you can watch it for yourselves. Do you see anything that justifies such a violent takedown?
Hanzich states that “there’s no initial reason for them to use force” and “I was never resistant to begin with.”
But it gets worse. This allegedly “depressed” inmate is thrown into the restraint chair and beaten while handcuffed, which deputies called “pain compliance.”
Hanzich recalls that “once they put me in full body restraints, I was begging and pleading with them.”
You can see the kind of force they are using on his head. Joseph says what you’re watching is a clear violation of his civil rights and a case of mistaken identity, and deputies confused him with another inmate with a very similar name bit in a lot more trouble.
Joseph Anthony was in jail for a misdemeanor, but a guy named Anthony Joseph Piazza was in jail for family violence and aggravated assault involving choking a relative. Joseph says he was told the takedown you watched in the hallway was really payback, a way for out-of-control deputies to play judge and jury.
Joseph continues to say that “At that point, one of the officers said that you know what you did to your mom and dad,” and that “you had this coming to you.”
As a result of the melee in the restraint chair, Hanzich is now charged with a felony for spitting on one of the officers. He admits it happened; he wanted the deputies to stop.
That’s not what happened. Watch the reaction.
“Shortly after me spitting, Bradley Garza comes over top and hits me five times in the face, so much so that one of the officers has to pull her off of me.”
Now watch a few minutes later as deputies are apparently as deputies are done putting Hanzich in the chair. Deputy Alexander Riley sends another message, but it’s not the message that may be most alarming.
Now, Hanzich is totally restrained against a wall and this guy in black shows up. He’ll inject this restrained prisoner with something. A year and a half later, we still don’t know what it was.
Less than a minute later, watch what happens.
Hanzich goes into convulsions and then appears to pass out. When deputies respond, they conduct no medical examination we can see on video. But we do see a deputy taking another shot at Joseph’s face.
Attorney Paul Anderson says that “the public gets to see what an inmate at a jail does to deserve having four adults pound on him, handcuff him, lynch him, put him in a chair, and then inject him with a chemical.”
Nacogdoches County has had this video for a year and a half and has taken no action against any deputy.
Wayne Dolcefino confronts Texas Ranger James Hicks and asks him “why did you ignore our complaints about abuse in the Nacogdoches County Jail? Why did you ignore these complaints?”
Ranger James Hicks has come under growing fire in both Nacogdoches and Angelina County, called by some a “rogue ranger.” We have documented cases where he ignored potential jail abuse, including this brutal treatment of Joseph Hanzich. Joseph provided a sworn affidavit top the ranger eleven months ago.
Attorney Anderson states that “the fact is that it was so brazen and blatant. It was an act of judicial misconduct and police misconduct.”
Brylee Garza, the woman pounding Joseph in the head, was given the 2021 Jail Supervisor of the Year Award.
But a jail whistleblower has provided the FBI with additional abuse allegations about Garza and others in a ten-page affidavit we’ve also obtained.
The affidavit says Garza was protected by the sheriff because of their relationship.
The whistleblower also says the guy you see here, Alexander Riley, has a “temper” and is typically the one that is “banging up people.” The affidavit, now in the hands of the FBI, claims Riley has struck other inmates in the face while they are physically restrained.
Ranger Hicks may have ignored jail abuse complaints, but he’s also under fire for conducing investigations in political enemies of local DAs.
In Nacogdoches, Hicks showed up at Peter Fernandez’s office to question him about his role in creating a political attack website on the DA, the one with an unflattering video of District Attorney Answer Jones getting busted a second time for drunk driving.
Jones wanted the website pulled down and Fernandez refused. Within hours, Fernandez says Ranger Hicks showed up screaming.
Fernandez, a software developer, says that “Texas Rangers should not be used for political purposes, period.”
The DPS won’t let us see Hicks’ final investigative report in the Fernandez case, claiming it is still an open investigation after more than three years.
And we know Hicks left his normal territory to help another DA, Janet Cassells, on investigations that targeted her political enemies. Cassells has refused calls to recuse herself in a number of cases.
Wayne tells Hicks that “I think it’s a legitimate question to ask whether you’re being used by the Angelina County DA.”
Hicks was involved in the investigation of former Angelina County Judge Don Lymbery for a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Lymbery was found guilty last month, but the prosecution has been criticized for playing politics. Hicks wasn’t called as a witness in the wake of our “Rogue Ranger” reports.
In a trial interview, Lymbery says that “I feel like it was definitely political.”
We’ve learned the DPS Internal Affairs Division is now asking questions about another Ranger investigation in East Texas, a very brief investigation of Angelina County Commissioner Terry Pitts and his use of asphalt.
When Dolcefino confronted Pitts about the asphalt use, Pitts avoided the question and said that “I got court to do now, and I don’t have time to fool.”
Pitts only paved half the roads in Angelina County he promised he would with borrowed tax money in a year’s period, but he used all the asphalt anyway.
Ranger Ryan Clendennon spent only a few weeks investigating, what he called a “discrete and limited evaluation,” before declaring there was nothing to see here. There was no forensic audit or even an interview with the complainant.
Former Lufkin City Attorney Bob Flournoy says that “the complainant never contacted me, even though I’m talking about three hundred thousand dollars’ worth of asphalt that’s unaccounted for.”
What’s going on in East Texas threatens to fuel allegations some Rangers are simply there to play politics, often protecting local law enforcement, relationships built when a Ranger stays in the same place for too long.
Take this video: there’s no evidence Ranger Hicks ever asked to see if it existed.
The beating, the injection, the convulsion, and the Nacogdoches jailer reports that can be disproven by the video we’ve now obtained. This is why we asked to see all restraint chair videos used in the Nacogdoches County Jail months ago.
The public should demand Nacogdoches County Commissioners show them all to us.
There is a “culture of good old boys; they act with impunity because everybody’s got their back,” states Anderson.
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