‘I have regrets’: Former Williamson County deputy discusses domestic violence call resulting in his arrest

Investigations

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Within an hour of the Williamson County sheriff announcing criminal charges against Lorenzo Hernandez, the former deputy was on the other end of a phone line with KXAN.

The sheriff’s office charged Hernandez in connection with a 2019 domestic violence call, where the victim ended up beneath two Williamson County deputies and handcuffed face down outside her Austin apartment.

Lorenzo Hernandez mugshot plus bodycam footage
Lorenzo Hernandez was charged with assault for his role in a Sept. 21, 2019 domestic violence call (Courtesy WCSO)

Hernandez, hired by former Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, was also featured in several “Live PD” episodes. Although the 2019 domestic violence call wasn’t related to the A&E reality show, at least one other nationally-televised arrest involving Hernandez’s use of force is currently under investigation by the Texas Rangers.

Hernandez was released from the Williamson County Jail on May 17 under a $10,000 bond. The former deputy faces two charges in connection to the 2019 domestic violence call: one count of official oppression and one count of assault.

Hernandez previously did not personally respond to KXAN’s requests for interviews and comment in previous reports naming him. After he watched Sheriff Mike Gleason’s press conference announcing his arrest, the former deputy asked to be interviewed.

“I’ve tarnished the badge,” Hernandez told KXAN investigative reporter Jody Barr during an interview in a Cedar Park park.

“I lost her. I lost her in my service to her, and that’s something I can’t get back, and that’s something I’ll carry with me. Regardless of whether I’m allowed to return to law enforcement or not, it’s just something that I have to accept and something that I did,” Hernandez said of how he decided to handle the domestic violence victim in 2019.

Body cam video shows former deputy Hernandez attempting to get inside a victim’s home to search for a suspect in a domestic violence call (WCSO)

The entire call was captured on Williamson County body cameras.

It took the Texas Rangers 20 months to finish its investigation, and Hernandez resigned after Chody lost his re-election bid to now-Sheriff Mike Gleason.

Chody’s administration conducted an internal investigation into Hernandez’s actions and suspended him for one day. Hernandez was the sheriff’s training officer at the time of the domestic violence call. Just two months later, Chody promoted Hernandez to detective.

“This one took a long time, because it just kind of stalled,” Gleason told reporters during the May 17 announcement. “We couldn’t get the answers that we wanted to, because the female victim in this video has been reluctant to cooperate — and rightly so. So we hope the arrest today will be a symbolic olive branch to her that we are serious about the way we treat domestic violence victims in this county, and we will move forward. And hopefully this will be the catalyst to get her cooperation to come forward, since she knows we’re serious about prosecuting this officer.”

When KXAN contacted the victim in September 2020 she would not agree to an interview. The Texas Rangers were also working to interview her at the time and were unsuccessful.

Gleason said the video was “prima facia” evidence Hernandez committed a crime.

Hernandez denies anything he did in the call was criminal, but did admit he regretted how he handled the call.

He told KXAN, “I messed up, I made a mistake.”

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