Woman says bail bondsman illegally kicked in her door

EL CAMPO, TX (KTRK) -- Jodi Garcia doesn't deny she's had run-ins with the law before -- it's the alleged actions of a bail bondsman during her November arrest she says she has issues with.

"I came out of my room and he was walking into my living room and the cop was behind him and I told him to get the hell out of my house," the El Campo resident said.

El Campo police said Garcia had outstanding warrants on three misdemeanors. They got a call from a bail bondsman who had spotted her in town. Garcia claims the bondsman followed her, and she even had a conversation with him before walking in to her home.

While she was inside with her husband and children, the outside camera shows the bondsman and an El Campo police officer taking turns knocking on her door for a couple of minutes.

The police chief claims his officer yelled out "Police!" several times. Garcia claims she was going to give herself up, but then her husband Henry said, "I did hear the door noise, a loud hit. I kind of got scared."

The door was kicked in by the man identified by police as the bail bondsman, and an officer followed him in to arrest her.

"You can't do whatever because you are the law or you think you are the law, you gotta follow the rules just like we have to follow the rules," said Garcia.

She ended up at the Wharton County Jail. Her attorneys believe the video of the incident speaks for itself.

El Campo Police Chief Terry Stanphill said that, after seeing the video, he ordered an investigation.

"I didn't like it one bit," he said.

In his 35 years in law enforcement, he says he's never seen anything like this.

"I wish he would have looked at some other options. We could have handled it better. At the same time, she was wanted and she was arrested," said Chief Stanphill.

The bail bondsman said he had no comment, but he told police during their interview with him that he had a civil contract to enter the home. But the chief said the DA disagrees.

While there's no audio on the home surveillance, the chief says in audio from the cruiser cam, he can hear his officer saying they weren't going to get involved in kicking the door in, and claims the bondsman did it anyway.

"If it was a policeman, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation, but since it was a bail bondsman, to me he shouldn't have that right. I didn't kill nobody," Garcia said.

The chief said the officer has not been disciplined, but adds they need to examine their training practices on situations like this. He also said they are still considering possible criminal trespassing charges against the bondsman. null
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