Quintana out on bail, awaiting trial

Aziza Musa

Former Austin Police Department Officer Leonardo Quintana was released from the Williamson County Jail on Tuesday night after posting his $8,000 bond.

Police arrested Quintana on Tuesday for four previous misdemeanor crimes during two incidents. The charges included two counts of assault, one count of criminal mischief and one count of trespass in two separate altercations with his former fiancee, Lori Noriega, who is also an APD officer.

Will Mitchell, a criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Jamie Balagia, said the main question is why Leander police arrested Quintana a year later.

“Certainly nothing has happened in the past year,” Mitchell said. “[Noriega] did not believe Quintana was criminally responsible for anything at the time. Allegations resurfaced when Quintana was fired the second time, and protective orders were filed.”

According to probable cause affidavits, Quintana demanded that Noriega return an engagement ring after she said she wanted to end their five-year relationship.

Quintana, who was under the influence of alcohol, tried to pull the ring off of Noriega’s finger, causing her to withdraw her hand. He grabbed Noriega’s neck in response and rammed her into the door.

Quintana also flipped over Noriega’s office desk, damaging her computer because he could not log in, the documents said.

Nearly a year later, Quintana invited himself over to Noriega’s home after the two went to a local football game. Court records show that Noriega reported he “drank an unknown quantity of beer” and began to ask her about her dating situation at the time. She didn’t want to talk about her personal life and proceeded to kick Quintana out of her house. When Quintana would not leave, Noriega threw out all of his belongings. He attempted to enter her home, but she blocked him. According to affidavits, Quintana grabbed Noriega by the upper arm and pushed her back, causing her to fall and hit her head against a sheetrock wall.

APD officials refused to comment on Wednesday because Quintana is no longer serving on the force.

Quintana faced public scrutiny after he fatally shot Nathaniel Sanders II in May 2009. He received a 15-day suspension for his failure to activate his dashboard camera at the time of the incident. The former officer was charged with driving while intoxicated in January 2010 after he crashed his car in a Leander neighborhood. APD Chief Art Acevedo indefinitely suspended Quintana following the charges, but Quintana appealed and was reinstated on Oct. 21. He was fired shortly afterward for violating company policy following Noriega’s assault allegations.

Mitchell said Quintana has denied any wrongdoing and expects to go to trial.