By Anita Miller
Kyle resident Bo Camacho is no stranger to the inside of Hays County Jail. At the age of 49, he has a considerable record of 15 arrests stretching back 19 years. Camacho, who is a cancer survivor, is pretty familiar with the process of getting arrested, too.
Still, he wasn’t prepared for what he said happened to him June 16.
It was late morning and he had just visited the Kyle Wal-Mart and used the self check-out. He was near the Mr. Gatti’s when he saw a Kyle police car in his rear-view mirror. Once he stopped, he was surrounded by officers with guns drawn, and he was being ordered to put his hands out the window.
The officers told him an employee said he “cussed them out” when they tried to stop him as he left the store. Camacho said that didn’t happen. “Long story short, nobody stopped me. I tried to show my receipt to the gentleman at the door but he said, ‘you’re OK.’ I walked to my car, got my bagged groceries and left.”
He said he provided the arresting officer with his receipt. His official charge, according to online records, is theft B, which usually represents an amount more than $50 but less than $500. He was not charged with any assaultive offense or use of abusive language.
Camacho said he told the arresting officers and personnel at the jail about his status as a cancer survivor, and asked to be separated from the general jail population. That didn’t happen either.
“Three or four days after I got out, it was in the paper that Hays County Jail inmates had COVID. I went and got tested,” he said. His test turned out negative.
Camacho is one of 34 people arrested by the Kyle Police Department on citation-eligible offenses since the first of the year, according to documentation acquired by the Hays Free Press. Of those, 17 have occurred since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Some of the offenses included fishing without a license, speeding and failure to maintain financial responsibility (no proof of insurance).
On Sept. 1 a “cite and divert” policy will go into effect, with the KPD one of the participating agencies. Under that policy, certain low-level offenders will meet with a prosecutor instead of going to jail. The intent is to reduce the population of the county jail, which has for years had to outsource inmates to other facilities even as voters approved money to expand jail capacity.
The policy would apply to anyone who lives, works or attends school in Hays County, and was announced months after the San Marcos City Council adopted an ordinance mandating a “cite and release” policy for officers dealing with certain low-level offenders.
Camacho, who, according to jail records, is five feet, seven inches and 175 pounds, is pretty certain it wasn’t a case of mistaken identity when he was pulled over because he saw the initial police car turn around to follow him, as if they had recognized the license plate.
“The plates are registered to me … I know they always run a license check. What I don’t understand is why it took seven of them to arrest me.
Camacho’s offenses were primarily drug-related. He had no history of any arrest for a violent crime.
Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett told the Hays Free Press he would be looking into the numbers and specific situations involved.