RIO HONDO — School District Chief of Police Nick Garza was placed on administrative leave yesterday, according to a statement released by the school district.
District officials will investigate possible misconduct related to a photo of Garza that has surfaced, according to the statement.
An anonymous email contains an attached photo of Garza appearing to be smoking from a marijuana bong.
The email ends with the message, “what a great example for our children.”
Late yesterday afternoon, district officials stated they are taking the allegations seriously and are currently conducting an internal investigation into the facts of the matter.
The district would not comment any further.
Garza says he is being targeted and the allegations are a malicious attack against his reputation.
He was also adamant that the object in the photograph was not a marijuana bong.
“Somebody is trying to stir the pot up,” Garza said. “It’s a mixed-drink glass.”
Garza said he has consulted with an attorney and is planning to file a lawsuit against the individual or individuals who circulated the photo.
“There is no smoke in that picture, it’s not a bong, it’s a glass,” Garza said. “I’ve got too good of a career to put myself in that position.”
He recalled when the photo was taken and that it happened during vacation recently.
“There is nothing criminal in that photo,” Garza said. “I’ve never been in trouble with the law, and I have served my country.”
He would not comment any further about the photo.
Garza said he was hired as the chief of police for Rio Hondo ISD two years ago and has military background with the U.S. Navy.