SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A felony assault charge against a man accused of hand-smacking Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff at a Northwest Side store in a dispute over the mask requirement has been downgraded to a misdemeanor. After contacting attorney Nico LaHood, 47-year-old Terry Toller decided to turn himself in early Thursday. La Hood told KTSA News the charge was downgraded from a felony Assault of a Public Servant to a misdemeanor.
“We believe this is an extreme case of overreaching,” said LaHood. “We think this is something that shouldn’t happen to any citizen, and it’s unfortunate that a proper investigation was not done.”
In a statement, District Attorney Joe Gonzales said “At the request of Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, that charge was rejected at magistration by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Toller was issued a citation for disorderly conduct.”
LaHood claims the charge against his client was downgraded because there is no evidence to support a felony case.
Wolff says the man was berating a cashier at Lowe’s on IH 10 near Callaghan, so he intervened and tried to hand the man a business card to discuss the mask requirement. The surveillance video released to the media shows the man knocked the card out of Wolff’s hand, but LaHood maintains Toller never hit the judge’s hand.
“The judge, for whatever reason, approached him, handed him a card. He reached over his shoulder, actually toward his face within a six-foot distance, as we can see there, and he didn’t want the card. He didn’t ask for it, but he never hit the judge,” said LaHood.
Toller is now charged with a Class C misdemeanor of disorderly conduct and faces a fine of up to $500.
Bexar County’s Executive Order NW-10 requires businesses to develop a policy for both employees and customers to wear a facial covering to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
“Wearing a face covering is a sign of respect to the people around you,” said DA Gonzales. “While this issue has become divisive and political, it is my hope that everyone will follow the order voluntarily.”
Wolff released a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“I called the District Attorney early this morning and told him I did not want to pursue any sort of criminal complaint against Mr. Toller. I did not want this to be a distraction of our main focus of requiring businesses to have customers wear masks and continuing to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our community. We are experiencing a drastic rise in cases and hospitalizations and it is my understanding that those numbers will go up exponentially today. We do not need any distractions from our mission to make sure this virus does not continue to spread within our community,” said Wolff.
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