Fired OPD Cpl. Cory Wester’s attorney said he will appeal his termination saying Wester’s actions were in compliance with Odessa Police Department procedures.
Wester, who is a well-known OPD officer who survived being shot multiple times in 2015 serving a warrant, was fired this week — an action announced by an OPD press release Wednesday with limited information.
Wester was the subject of investigation after an April 27 incident, during which the OPD release stated it was ultimately found he used unreasonable force while arresting a woman at the MCM Grande Hotel and FunDome in east Odessa.
“We believe that all of Officer Wester’s actions were in compliance with the policies and procedures in the Odessa Police Department, and that his actions were necessary in this particular situation, given the facts and circumstances,” attorney Terry Boone of Lubbock said.
Boone said he was reviewing OPD’s policies on the use of force and its escalation in plans to appeal the termination.
Meanwhile, a criminal investigation into the incident has been opened by the Texas Rangers.
Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Oscar Villarreal confirmed Thursday that a criminal investigation is ongoing.
The OPD release states that when officers attempted to handcuff a woman who was refusing to comply with orders April 27 at the FunDome, Wester struck the woman with a closed fist four to five times, in what was determined by the department to be an unreasonable use of force.
Wester was placed on administrative leave April 27, up until his termination Wednesday, said Boone, on behalf of Wester. Wester was placed on leave with pay pending the completion of OPD’s internal investigation.
“There has been no indication to us that he will be charged with a criminal offense,” said Boone, who practices with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.
Boone said that he believed that the woman was treated and released from a medical facility after the incident.
Villarreal declined to provide further information Thursday, including information on the extent of the woman’s injuries.
“This is an ongoing criminal investigation so we’re not going to release any details at this time,” he said. OPD officials also refused to release details on the extent of the woman’s injuries on Thursday, or on whether she was arrested or charged with an offense, or any other information. The OA has filed a Freedom of Information request for the information.
Wester started with OPD on July 1, 2013, and spent his entire career with the OPD on patrol.
The OPD press release detailed that the April 27 incident at the MCM FunDome occurred after officers were dispatched over a disturbance, before finding an intoxicated woman. As Wester attempted to handcuff the woman, the release stated, the woman grasped Wester’s wrist tightly causing him pain, before he punched her.
The case was given to the Texas Rangers, housed by Texas DPS. Villarreal said DPS would not release any information other than what was in OPD’s press release “until (the Rangers are) done with their investigation.”
In 2015, Wester was shot prior to a nine-hour standoff involving OPD in east Odessa.
Roy Garza was sentenced to life in prison in 2017 after a jury found him guilty on two charges of attempted capital murder, when it was determined he shot Wester and Sgt. Pedro “Pete” Gonzalez at Clayton Manor Townhomes on Dec. 23, 2015.