A local law enforcement officer is under investigation after the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office learned she was at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, when pro-President Donald Trump extremists stormed the building and rioted.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said at a Thursday news conference that he was informed that 46-year-old Roxanne Mathai, a lieutenant who has been with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office for eight years and worked at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center, documented her time in Washington, D.C., Wednesday via social media posts.
“I did become aware of this information on social media and then immediately launched our own administrative investigation,” he said. “Look, I understand – freedom of speech, freedom to assemble. That’s everybody’s right under our Constitution, and for all we know … what Roxanne did was within the confines of the law. I don’t know that at this point.”
Mathai is currently on administrative leave and has not worked in the sheriff’s office since October 2020, Salazar said. Mathai was a detention lieutenant, a management position, in the Bexar County jail. She is being investigated for having an improper relationship with an inmate, Salazar said, though he clarified that does not mean a sexual relationship. That investigation is ongoing.
According to screenshots shared with Salazar early Wednesday morning, Mathai took selfies outside of the U.S. Capitol while wearing a ski mask with the American flag printed on it. She also posted photos of police doing riot control, Salazar said, but beyond that, he’s not sure of her actions there or whether she violated any laws.
“She makes mention that they’re heading to the Capitol,” he said of Mathai’s social media posts. “And then … she makes mention of the fact that there are people going into the Capitol but that she’s not doing that.”
Salazar also asked reporters to share any other posts that may be helpful in discerning the level of Mathai’s participation in Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters after one reporter informed him of photos Salazar had not seen yet.
“I’m trying to find out at what point did any conduct become illegal,” he said. “And then of course we’re going to hold her accountable for the most that we possibly can, with regard to that.”
Salazar has sent photographs of Mathai to the FBI’s San Antonio division to assist in any facial recognition efforts the bureau may undertake in pursuing criminal charges, he said.
District of Columbia police arrested several dozen people Wednesday, many for violating a 6 p.m. curfew instituted by local authorities, and Capitol police made other arrests as authorities vowed to pursue those involved in illegal acts during the riots. Sixty Capitol police officers were injured during the mayhem, according to media reports.
On Wednesday, Salazar said rioters’ actions at the U.S. Capitol were “disheartening.” At Thursday’s press conference, he said he’s looking into what administrative charges would be relevant, including conduct unbecoming of an officer. The sheriff’s office department of internal affairs will be overseeing that investigation, he said, adding that he wants to ensure Mathai does not return to his department.
“I think everybody knows where I stand on misconduct, and this is certainly no different,” Salazar said. “Whether it happens here within the confines of these four walls or whether it happens in another state or another country, you break the law, I promise you I’m going to hold you accountable here.”
*story by San Antonio Report