Disabled vet disputes felony charge, after security guard beating

SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio man charged with assaulting a security officer outside a south-side bar late last month says police were given a false version of events by witnesses on scene.

Joshua Esparza, 28, suffered a fractured eye socket, broken nose and heavy bruising on his upper body after the Aug. 27 altercation, outside 210 Sports Cantina in the 1900 block of SW Military Drive.

He now faces a second-degree felony charge of assaulting a security officer, after witnesses told police he bit a security guard on the wrist.

Esparza said he and some friends had gone to the bar after watching a movie at the nearby Mayan Palace Movie Theater.

Esparza, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, said security knocked a drink out of his hand and pushed him out of the bar after asking him to leave around 11 p.m.

A San Antonio Police Department report obtained by the KENS 5 I-Team indicates Esparza was asked to leave after "making references to gangs".

Esparza denies he made such comments.

Once outside, Esparza said two guards heckled him as he continued to ask them and later a manager why he was thrown out.

The SAPD report states the guards moved in on Esparza after he took a fighting stance and "took a step forward flinching his body as if he was coming at" one of the guards.

"I stayed in the same spot in the parking lot. I didn't go back in the bar," said Esparza, who disputed the guards' claim that he approached them.

Esparza said he was struck repeatedly in the upper body before losing consciousness.

He was later taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries.

The SAPD report indicates the guard's wrist showed "redness". However, an SAPD spokesman conceded Thursday the bite did not appear to break the skin.

"It's gonna be based on what they observed. What witnesses are telling them and any other information that's not available to them at the time," said Sgt. Jesse Salame, describing how the officer could charge Esparza without having witnesses to the fight.

Salame pointed out the district attorney's office will ultimately determine whether to move forward with the case.

In March 2015, bar management provided SAPD surveillance video for an investigation of a hit and run in the same parking lot.

However, a bar manager said Thursday the cameras did not capture footage of the fight.

Esparza, who has a 2012 arrest in Bexar County for domestic violence, said he recently got an associate's degree following years of battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after leaving the military in 2011. 

He filed a report with SAPD Wednesday, accusing both guards of assaulting him.


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