Early last year a transgendered prostitute came into a police station stating she had just been raped in the back of a police car. She had been picked up by Officer Nash, cuffed in the squad car, and told to lie down in the back seat as he drove to a remote location. Once there she was forced to commit sexual acts on Nash before he took her back into town and dropped her off near a school. She immediately caught a bus to the police station. A rape kit would later show Nash’s DNA present on the victim.
Although prosecutor Trey Banack stated “A police officer who is a criminal does not deserve mercy from the system he protects”, it was his office that negotiated a extremely merciful plea agreement with Nash. He agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor official oppression and the prosecutor agreed to not pursue a felony charge. Oh—and they agreed not to pursue charges in another case where Nash was accused of raping a citizen in 2008. So while Banack sought the maximum one year sentence for the misdemeanor charge, he can hardly talk about holding officers accountable for criminal actions.
The Texas Civil Rights Project filed a complaint on Nash with the San Antonio Police Department in July, 2009, six months before the rape accusations surfaced. The complaint involved a domestic assault where a woman was being “brutally beaten” in downtown San Antonio. Nash allegedly stopped witnesses (including a domestic violence attorney, teacher, banker, and a firefighter) from helping the woman, threatening them with arrest, and did not take steps to arrest the individual who had assaulted her. He was said to be “callous” to the woman and the witnesses, threatening to arrest the attorney who offered suggestions on how to assist the woman. Interestingly, however, nothing would come of these complaints. Nor would anything come of accusations Nash unlawfully arrested two street preachers across from a gay bar one night back in 2008.
Maybe the prosecution thinks they truly delivered justice in this case. I don’t see how, but what’s done is done. Nash has been sentenced to a year and under the terms of the agreement the state of Texas can’t pursue charges for either sexual assault. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation isn’t bound by the agreement. Join us in calling on the FBI to open a “color of law” civil rights investigation into former officer Nash. Those tasked with enforcing the law must at least be held to at least the same standards as those of us who they are paid to protect.
- Special Agent in Charge, San Antonio Field Office FBI
Cory B. Nelson
Former San Antonio police officer Craig Nash, acting under a color of law, violated the civil rights of at least one local citizen. He sexually assaulted a transgendered prostitute after cuffing her in the back seat of the squad car and making her lie down as he took her to a remote location. Officer Nash’s DNA was found to be on the victim after a rape kit was processed and GPS technology showed his vehicle to be in the area in which the victim reported the crime occurred. But rather than face charges of sexual assault, Nash was given a plea deal that laughed in the face of Texas law and police ethics.
I write this letter to respectfully request your offices open an investigation into the acts of Craig Nash and the response. This wasn’t the only rape accusation against him, though the local prosecutor agreed to not seek charges in another case as part of the plea agreement in this one.
“A police officer who is a criminal does not deserve mercy from the system he protects.” These are the words of prosecutor Trey Banack. And while I couldn’t agree more, he said these words in the midst of a miscarriage of justice and an extreme showing of legal mercy. Nash was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and sentenced to one year in jail. He will not have to register as a sex offender and won’t face further investigation, by the state of Texas, on at least one other accusation of sexual assault.
It isn’t clear why the prosecutor facilitated such an arrangement. We cannot know whether it was because Nash was a cop or because the victim was a transgendered prostitute. But it’s obvious to citizens across the nation that he was acting in a manner that shouldn’t have been allowed to slide by with such a slap on the wrist.
Please open a civil rights “color of law” investigation into Craig Nash immediately. People need to know that when a law enforcement officer fails to live up to the integrity of such a position, he will be held accountable.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
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