13 Galveston police officers disciplined

March 19, 2009 5:39:55 AM PDT
Nine Galveston police officers have been suspended, the fallout from a big wedding night brawl involving Astros pitcher Brandon Backe. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

A luxurious wedding in Galveston turned into a violent fight between wedding guests and police. Eyewitness News has learned several officers are facing discipline in connection with the brawl.

After an internal investigation that lasted more than five months, a total of 13 Galveston police officers have been disciplined in connection with a brawl that involved Brandon Backe. At least one of the men involved told us that the officers were disciplined for the wrong reason.

It's been five months since Galveston police used Tasers on a father and son during what has been described as a riot at the San Luis Resort Hotel. Guests had moved to the hotel bar after a wedding next door.

Police said the trouble started when Daniel Cole O'Balle, 19, tried to go to the pool area with an open container of alcohol. The incident escalated from there. Police said many refused to follow commands.

In the end, 13 people were arrested including Backe, who had bruises on his face in his mugshot.

On Wednesday after a lengthy internal investigation, Galveston's police chief announced disciplinary action against 13 officers. Nine officers have been suspended without pay for two to seven days. Four officers will get written reprimands. All 13 will receive remedial reporting and documentation training.

According to the city's news release, those were the officers' failures, not excessive force as many witnesses have contended.

In response, O'Balle's father, Gilbert, who was also tasered that night, called the discipline "kind of a joke." He went on to say, "This is so outrageous and so far from the truth."

Gilbert O'Balle was clearly not happy with the investigation's findings. He had just read the report.

Investigators blamed the entire incident on his son, Daniel O'Balle, who suffered a head injury. They also blamed his parents for their "lack of supervision."

Both the O'Balles and Brandon Backe have the same attorney, but our calls went unreturned. They still face criminal charges.

Read more about the officers' suspension.

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