021020 Progreso Jail

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PROGRESO — An intoxicated man ripped through the ceiling of the city jail last month — and used the insulation as a pillow.

At about 10:18 p.m. on Jan. 20, the U.S. Border Patrol called the Progreso Police Department about “a drunk subject” walking in the middle of Farm-to-Market Road 1015, according to Progreso Municipal Court records.

Progreso dispatched police Officer Ernesto Lozano, who arrested Joseph J. Hemer, 25, of Mission on suspicion of public intoxication.

When they arrived at the police department, Hemer started calling someone.

“Officer Lozano told him to hand him the cell phone because he needed to be booked in before he could make a phone call,” according to court records. “Officer Lozano ordered Hemer repeatedly to hand him the cell phone but he did not comply and ignored the orders.”

Lozano attempted to take the phone away from Hemer, but Hemer pushed him away.

“Officer Lozano managed to grab one of his arms to take control of him and they both fell to the floor,” according to court records.

Hemer didn’t stop struggling until Lozano threatened him with pepper spray.

“After he calmed down a bit Officer Lozano was able to finish the booking process,” according to court records.

Officers placed Hemer in Cell #6. Officer Saul Caballero checked on him at 8:30 a.m.

“The ceiling air diffuser had been torn off the ceiling and was on the floor along with pieces of pink insulation,” according to court records. “Officer Caballero noticed that Mr. Hemer was using the pink insulation as a pillow.”

Hemer is charged with assault on a public servant, a third-degree felony, and criminal mischief causing damage worth more than $100 but less than $750, a Class B misdemeanor.

Court records don’t list an attorney for Hemer, who remained at the Hidalgo County jail Sunday and couldn’t be reached for comment.


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