EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso Police Department officer who was caught on camera throwing files into a dumpster by a local lawyer was involved in a controversial car crash earlier this year.
Surveillance and cell phone video showed documents and packages being thrown into a dumpster belonging to the law firm of Wyatt & Underwood.
A man with a gun is seen with the group. Once Dereck Wyatt approaches them, the group leaves.
Most of the group got into the vehicle and drove away, but the man with the gun walked the opposite direction and entered into a building owned by the City of El Paso.
The armed man seen in the video has been identified by several sources to be Officer Thomas Sneed, who was arrested in March after rear-ending a car in the 2300 block of Piedras. Sneed was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and had just left a Five Points area bar, a court affidavit later revealed.
Police did not immediately respond to KTSM’s request for comment on Sneed’s involvement.
The court documents from the crash revealed that Sneed told officers he looked down at his phone as it rang and then when he looked up he saw the car he crashed into.
Officer Andrea Zendejas, 34, who was a regular on A&E’s Live PD, was a passenger in Sneed’s truck. Following the crash, her face was covered in blood and she was taken to the hospital with head injuries according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also said Sneed “had bloodshot eyes and an odor of alcohol coming from his breath.” He admitted to having three shots that night. However, a breathalyzer test showed Sneed was just below the legal limit of 0.08.
Sneed was placed on administrative duty after his arrest, police said at the time.
He is facing a charge of Driving While Intoxicated. His final pre-trial conference in Judge Robert Anchondo’s court was last month with a judge’s conference scheduled for Aug. 21.
Meanwhile, Sneed is being sued by Israel Gallegos and Joseph Peterson, who were in the car stuck by Sneed’s truck. They are represented by Maria Elena Grasheim, who is a lawyer at the Wyatt Underwood Law Firm.
The materials left in the dumpster had sensitive information, Wyatt told KTSM.
“They came over with a pallet and they dumped stuff in the dumpster. Then they came back with a vehicle that was already loaded. If they weren’t going to dump it in there, they were gonna dump it somewhere else which means this was very premeditated. I bet they’ve done this before,” Wyatt said.
The El Paso Police Department is looking into the case, officials said on Monday.
“We are currently looking into this matter,” a statement read. “The department’s Internal Affairs is conducting an administrative investigation while the Homeland Security Special Investigations Unit is conducting a separate criminal investigation. The items in question were collapsed boxes that were improperly disposed but did not contain any documents.”