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Police arrest former Pharr PD chief

Officers from Pharr PD arrested Andy Harvey, the department’s former chief, Saturday evening on allegations that he abused a 911 service and resisted arrest.

According to a criminal complaint from the Pharr Police Department, Harvey made “abusive or harassing” statements to dispatcher Abigail Cuevas via several non-emergency text messages, after which he resisted police arresting him at his home.

Former Pharr police Chief Andy Harvey. (Photo courtesy of Andy Harvey.)

Through an attorney, however, Harvey disputes intentionally violating the law and says he was wrongfully arrested.

“As a life long (sic) peace officer who has served as Chief of Police for the city of Pharr, Andy Harvey has the utmost respect for first responders and would never intentionally abuse the public’s 9-1-1 lifeline to safety,” a statement says. “He categorically disputes any claims that he intentionally abused the public’s trust.”
Harvey has butted heads with the city for a year, ever since he abruptly resigned as police chief and city manager.

An explosive dust-up with then-deputy city manager Ed Wylie preceded those resignations.

In May, a mayoral bid Harvey launched against incumbent Ambrosio Hernandez failed.

Harvey filed a petition in June in an attempt to compel the city of Pharr to release a large number of open records he requested, a hearing for which a judge reset from this Friday to October.

According to the Laredo Morning Times, that city said that it was considering Harvey as a candidate for its police chief last month.

Station KGNS reported Monday that Laredo’s city manager considered him the first choice for that position, although he faced opposition from at least one councilman which increased after the arrest.

According to a criminal complaint, two Pharr police officers — Anthony Garcia and Jose Montiel — responded to Harvey’s residence in the 1000 block of West Daffodil Ave. after 10 p.m. Saturday following the department’s receipt of those alleged 911 texts.

What Harvey said in those texts is so far a mystery.

The city of Pharr released documents related to the arrest to the Progress Times through a public information request, though it’s seeking to withhold related 911 communications.

Mark Anthony Sanchez, Harvey’s attorney, said he’d received no documents about the arrest Wednesday afternoon and only commented after the Progress Times provided him with them. He said he couldn’t comment on the messages that allegedly sparked the encounter.

“I haven’t had the benefit of reviewing the text messages because Mr. Harvey’s cell phone is still in police custody,” Sanchez said.

According to the complaint, Harvey voluntarily handed over his cell phone to police outside his home Saturday night, but quickly took it back and began to reenter his residence.

An officer grabbed Harvey, the complaint says, as he braced his body against the doorjamb.

According to the complaint, officers took Harvey to the ground, where, it says, he hit both in the face.

An offense entry in the arresting documents that reads “Assault P.D.” is crossed out with a pen stroke. Police did not book Harvey on an assault charge, which would have been a felony.

Sanchez says officers were wrong to arrest his client.

“Further, Mr. Harvey initially cooperated with city of Pharr law enforcement officers in resolving any misunderstanding until they stormed into his home, assaulted him, and wrongfully arrested him,” it says. “He is a victim of police misconduct and challenges the city of Pharr to meet him in court where justice will prevail.”

According to the complaint, officers placed Harvey — barefoot, at his home, with no signs of intoxication —into handcuffs and put him in a holding cell at the Pharr Police Department.

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