EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) The civil rights attorney of an El Paso woman arrested in August 2021 claims her felony driving while intoxicated charges should be dropped after receiving a new letter from the Texas Department of Transportation.

As KTSM previously reported, Anna Marie Barnes, a local mother of five, claims she was beaten by El Paso Police officers last year as they arrested her following her involvement in a single-vehicle crash on Rim Road.

An arrest affidavit states Barnes hit a tree with her five children in the car. No injuries were reported. Police responded to the scene, according to the affidavit, and officers claimed Barnes was attempting to leave the scene. Officers also reported smelling alcohol on Barnes.

“When I started crying they slammed me to the ground and put me in handcuffs and started punching me,” Barnes said. “He didn’t offer me a breathalyzer or sobriety test that’s why they took my blood.”

The El Paso Police Department said it was investigating the incident and could not comment at the moment, but would release more information when the investigation permits.

Randall Kallinen, Barnes’ civil rights attorney, said Barnes just recently received a letter from the licensing department of the Texas Department of Public Safety stating Barnes’ “blood test passed.”

“Ms. Barnes just received the results from DPS determining that she passed her blood test, so that means she was not intoxicated,” Kallinen said.

However, the Office of the El Paso County District Attorney said under Texas law, there are two ways to prove a person was driving while intoxicated:

1) proving that the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) of .08 or more, OR

2) proving that ANY amount of alcohol ingested had caused the driver to lose the normal use of either their mental or physical faculties (for example, causing a car crash despite having a BAC below the legal limit).

This case has not been filed yet but is currently in the screening dept, wherein all of the evidence including, but not limited to, videos and witness statements is being reviewed to determine whether the prosecution will or will not be sought.

Office of the District Attorney

Kallinen said they continue pushing for the City of El Paso to invest in body cameras for police officers.

“If the officer had a body-worn camera and recorded the punching, he wouldn’t have done it,” Kallinen said.

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