SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — On June 24, the San Marcos police chief requested the Texas Rangers conduct an investigation into ex-Sgt. Ryan Hartman and his use of a stun gun on a resident in January 2021.
“To my knowledge, the citizen who was tazed never filed a complaint with the Department, nor with the District Attorney’s Office. I have since learned that the DA dropped the criminal charge(s) against the citizen. At question is whether Ryan Hartman committed an offense when he used the Taser,” SMPD Chief Stan Standridge wrote in an email to the Texas Rangers.
Standridge’s email was prompted by a letter sent to him from community advocate Jordan Buckley, on June 23, which asked the San Marcos Police Department pursue felony charges of aggravated assault against Hartman, according to email copies.
“We commend Chief Standridge for taking this step albeit one year after he suspended Hartman. But still, better late than never. And so we’re glad that there’ll now be an examination of this unnecessary violence,” Buckley said.
Records showed the citizen filed a lawsuit against Hartman on June 14. The complaint said Hartman was “not qualified to be a police officer, much less a police supervisor.”
The complaint claimed Hartman violated the citizen’s civil rights, and the City of San Marcos failed to supervise Hartman.
According to the complaint, the citizen seeks recovery for all damages, including physical pain and past and future mental anguish from the trauma, as well as for attorney’s fees, expenses and costs.
Hartman was put on a week-long suspension related to the response in July 2021. According to records, the suspension resulted from rules and provisions he reportedly violated in the San Marcos Policy Manual.
“You used force that was unnecessary and unreasonable, and you failed to provide notice to the suspect that you were going to use such force,” the July 2021 suspension document said. “There were no reasonable circumstances justifying such force.”
In June 2020, Hartman was also involved in a crash that killed a woman while he was off-duty, KXAN previously reported. He was later fired from the department related to that case in January 2022.
KXAN received a statement from the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, the law firm representing Hartman.
“We always ask for our members to respect a decision that’s been handed down. Our American right to tell the truth and share our side of the story is valued as much as the outcome. CLEAT has always been an advocate of due process for police officers across the State,” the Executive Director of CLEAT Charley Wilkison wrote.