McAllen policeman and dispatcher charged with assault after knock-down, drag-out fight
Officers arrested two McAllen Police Department employees Wednesday after the couple — a policeman and a dispatcher — fought while driving home from a bar.
A judge arraigned police Officer Michael Ray Basaldu, 37, of Edinburg and Emergency Communications Specialist Brianda Gabriela Arratia, 24, of Edinburg on Wednesday afternoon.
Basaldu and Arratia were charged with assault causing bodily injury, a Class A misdemeanor.
They started fighting late Saturday morning after visiting a McAllen bar, according to the criminal complaint.
Arratia said Basaldu became jealous when she started drinking with friends, according to the criminal complaint. The fight started when they left the bar and started driving home.
“Mr. Basaldu stopped the vehicle and told her to ‘get the **** out of the car,’” according to the criminal complaint, which recounts Arratia’s story. “Arratia stated that she exited the vehicle and began to walk away.”
Arratia said Basaldu stopped the car and attacked her — pushing Arratia to the ground, kicking her and punching her in the face, according to the criminal complaint. Arratia admitted to punching Basaldu during the altercation.
After the fight, they drove home together.
“Ms. Arratia said she got very frustrated with Michael and she pushed his head against the driver’s side window,” according to the criminal complaint. “Ms. Arratia stated that Mr. Basaldu then punched her on the left side of her face with his right fist.”
Investigators took a report from Arratia at 3:46 a.m. Saturday. They met with Basaldu on Tuesday.
Basaldu said he left the bar with Arratia at roughly 2 a.m. Saturday. They started arguing on the way home.
When they stopped at a red light, Arratia left the vehicle, Basaldu said, according to the criminal complaint. He parked the car and “attempted to convince Ms. Arratia to get back in his vehicle due to her being heavily intoxicated.”
Basaldu said he grabbed Arratia in a “bear hug” and placed her back in the car, according to the criminal complaint.
They headed north on Second Street.
“Mr. Basaldu stated that a few blocks away Ms. Arratia began to scream at him again but this time she began to punch him on his face with closed fists as he was driving,” according to the criminal complaint. Basaldu said he grabbed Arratia by the head and attempted to stop her from punching him.
When they returned home, Basaldu said Arratia drove away in her car, according to the criminal complaint.
“Mr. Basaldu denied assaulting Ms. Arratia and was not able to explain Ms. Arratia’s visible injuries,” according to the criminal complaint.
Investigators also spoke with Arratia’s friends from the bar. They said Arratia called and left a long voicemail, which recorded part of the fight.
Both Basaldu and Arratia said they wanted to press charges.
“The McAllen Police Department has conducted a criminal investigation into this matter. As a result, both parties now face criminal charges associated with their off duty conduct,” police Chief Victor Rodriguez said in a statement. “They will also face administrative action in these matters.”
They remain employed, Rodriguez said, adding that “separation action is pending.” The city suspended Basaldu without pay on Thursday morning.
McAllen Assistant Municipal Judge Ricardo Montalvo set $5,000 public recognizance bonds for Arratia and Basaldu.
Officers booked Arratia at the Hidalgo County jail at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to Sheriff’s Office records. Jailers released her at 7:08 p.m.
Officers booked Basaldu at the Hidalgo County jail at 6:58 p.m. Wednesday, according to Sheriff’s Office records. Jailers released him at 7:58 p.m.
Court records don’t list attorneys for Arratia and Basaldu, who couldn’t be reached for comment.