Former BCSO lieutenant receives nearly $400K settlement after being fired for participating in Jan. 6 Capitol rally-turned-riot

Roxanne Mathai believes she was fired for her political views. She plans to run against Sheriff Javier Salazar in the future.

SAN ANTONIO — A former Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) lieutenant says she was fired for her political views. Now, Roxanne Mathai plans to run against Sheriff Javier Salazar if he is re-elected this November.

On April 30, Mathai received a nearly $400,000 settlement from Bexar County. The lawsuit against Bexar County and Sheriff Javier Salazar was filed in federal court in 2022. The dispute stems from Mathai’s participation in former President Donald Trump’s “Save America” rally on Jan. 6, 2021.

“It was history in the making, I wanted to go,” Mathai said. “I never entered the [U.S.] Capitol.”

Mathai posted videos and pictures of the rally on Facebook, saying she was on the stairs but “not inside the Capitol.” She told KENS 5 she did not partake in the January 6 insurrection.

“I, at no time ever, saw anyone breaking any laws,” she said. “I never saw people breaking doors, windows, anything like that. We took so much time to get there that by the time we arrived, it was already done. I would have never even thought about going inside. I didn’t find out about what happened until later that evening when we went to the hotel and saw all the stuff going on on Fox News. I was livid, I was a little upset and angry about it. I put out a post on social media condemning it.”

Though she wasn’t charged with any crimes related to the January 6 riot, Mathai says BCSO placed her on administrative leave as soon as she returned.

Instead of calling her, Mathai accuses the sheriff of holding a press conference.

“He stated that it doesn’t matter if I broke any laws or not, it was just the mere fact that I was there that I would never step foot in that [BCSO] building again,” Mathai said.

She was fired from BCSO a few months later for “conduct unbecoming of an officer” and “failure to report crimes.”

Mathai worked at the Bexar County jail for eight years. She says she rose through the ranks quickly and found a lot of meaning in her job.

“I loved it,” said Mathai. “It was a job I was very dedicated to, very loyal to, very passionate about.”

In a court deposition, Sheriff Salazar said he believes “the insurrection itself was a terrorist act and [Mathai] was there in support of it.” When asked if he believes Mathai is a terrorist, the sheriff answered, “Yes.”

Mathai’s attorney, Mark Anthony Sanchez, calls the recent settlement a win for constitutional rights.

“This case stands for viewpoint diversity,” said Sanchez. “That is, you can speak your mind outside of work and associate with like-minded individuals freely without the fear of being punished when you return to work. It’s a beacon of hope. The publicity that this case generates is a message to anyone who loves liberty and freedom; your rights matter, never let them be cast aside.”

Sheriff Javier Salazar declined our interview request. However, he shared the following statement:

“The termination in this case was done within policy and was upheld by an arbitrator. The decision to issue a settlement was made outside the BCSO. There was no wrongdoing on the part of the administration, and I stand by our actions.”

Mathai is now pushing for a change in leadership, and hopes to be that change.

“I am going to get my mental health certificates under my belt,” she said. “ I am going to get my peace officer certificates and I do plan on running for sheriff.”

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