Another Williamson County, Texas sheriff's deputy who appeared on Live PD is facing charges for assault and official oppression in connection with a 2019 incident. Lorenzo Hernandez, who left the force on his own in late 2020, allegedly pushed a domestic violence victim to the ground in September 2019 and the incident was captured by a body camera. It was not featured on Live PD, which followed members of the sheriff's force for 18 months.
The September 2019 incident was not covered in the press under the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV reported on it during an investigation into the Williamson County Sheriff's Office. Hernandez is now the sixth person to face criminal charges after that investigation. Ten felony and misdemeanor charges have been filed in connection to crimes that happened while they were working for the department. One of the people who faced criminal charges related to Live PD's work in Williamson County is former Sheriff Robert Chody.
"They just got bolder and bolder and bolder, until we got where we are today," Sheriff Mike Gleason told the American-Statesman in May when the charges against Hernandez were filed. "This is not how we conduct our business." Gleason took office in January after vowing to restore public confidence in the sheriff's department.
Hernandez's charges are in connection to an incident on Sept. 21, 2019. Deputies were called to a domestic violence victim's home that night by neighbors. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, told the first responding deputy her boyfriend left the scene and she did not want law enforcement in her home. However, Hernandez allegedly grabbed the woman without provocation and threatened to Taser her. He and two deputies pushed her to the ground and handcuffed her before searching the home, as seen in the body camera footage. Chody, who included Hernandez in social media posts promoting the department's Live PD participation, suspended Hernandez the day after the incident. Two months later though, Hernandez was promoted to detective. Hernandez resigned after Chody lost re-election.
"When someone calls the police for help, they should not be expected to be choked and thrown to the ground," Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick told the American-Statesman. His office was working with the sheriff's investigators before presenting the case to a grand jury. But detectives believe there is enough evidence to charge Hernandez themselves without convening a grand jury. Hernandez was booked into jail on May 17 on a $10,000 bond.
"I’ve tarnished the badge," Hernandez told KXAN after his arrest was announced. "I lost her," he said of the domestic violence victim. "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."
Live PD debuted in 2016 and became one of A&E's most-watched programs during its four seasons. It was canceled in June 2020 in the wake of George Floyd's death and reports that footage of Javier Ambler's killing in Austin was deleted. A&E has since replaced the series with Live Rescue, which follows firefighters and EMTs.