Scott Ball / Rivard Report
After months of calling a police report of a domestic violence incident “false,” former Councilman Greg Brockhouse and his wife, Annalisa, revealed this week that the police were indeed called to their home on Dec. 23, 2009, but said the incident that occurred was not as it was described in the report.
The police report, which was published by a local newspaper but no longer exists in police records, stated that Brockhouse “screamed at [her] to leave him alone and when [she] wouldn’t leave [him] alone, [he] grabbed [her] and threw [her] on the ground and got on top of her. [She] said that [he] was trying to hit her and she kept trying to push him off.”
But Annalisa Brockhouse contradicted the report in an interview with the Rivard Report on Tuesday, saying she called the police to report an argument between her and her husband after he had left their home. She said she was battling postpartum depression at the time, shortly after the birth of the couple’s son. Until now, neither she nor her husband has acknowledged an incident involving the police occurred that night.
Asked if she ever told police that her husband physically abused her as the report indicated, Annalisa Brockhouse answered, “no.”
“It’s important to me that people know the truth about Greg, who he has been to me and most importantly what he’s never been to me,” she said. At her direction, she said, she and her husband hired an attorney to have the report expunged in 2011.
The 2009 report, obtained by the San Antonio Express-News, became a flashpoint in the recent runoff election between Brockhouse and Mayor Ron Nirenberg. The incumbent mayor won reelection by 2 percentage points. Nirenberg’s campaign and his supporters used the incident, combined with another police report – this one from 2006 – about an incident involving an ex-wife, to claim Brockhouse had a “pattern” of domestic abuse.
No charges were filed in either incident.
Asked why they waited until after the election to discuss the police report, the couple said they disagreed about that.
She wanted to clear the air right away, she said, but he didn’t want her to have to relive that traumatic period, nearly a year, of her life during an already tough election.
“My wife’s dignity in that moment [throughout the campaign and election] was more important” than telling the whole truth about that night, Greg Brockhouse said. “I guess it will be hard for people to understand that.”
Now that the election is over, she said, “there’s no [hidden] objective here. There’s nothing to gain, there’s nothing to lose by me telling my story, the truth of what happened between my husband and I.”
The argument began over which one of them had forgotten to refrigerate milk for their son and “was blown up into something that got out of control quickly,” she said. However, “it never got physical.”
The councilman’s wife said she was angry at him for leaving their home that night, so she called the police in an emotional state.
Their son Luke was born in February 2009. She returned to work as a special education teacher just six weeks after giving birth.
“As soon as I got back to work I was struggling,” she said, “struggling professionally, struggling at home. It wasn’t ok. I was not ok.”
Within four months of giving birth, she said, she was diagnosed with postpartum depression and opted for counseling instead of medication so she could continue to breastfeed. In December, her father had a heart attack and her symptoms associated with an autoimmune disease were triggered by the stress, she said.
“It didn’t matter what Greg said, there was nothing that was going to make the situation right,” she said, remembering her frame of mind that night. “I’m standing in the middle of all of this going on, [I was] so far removed from emotion [and] the decision-making process … action and consequence.”
She said she feels guilty for calling the police that night because he was right to leave.
“That’s what our counselor said to do” when arguments get too intense, she said. “I was still angry.”
Marsha Cuellar, who has been friends with Annalisa Brockhouse for more than 20 years, said she saw how she struggled with depression.
“I know they were in counseling and worked hard to survive the challenges [of] postpartum and I know exactly how Greg was during all that,” Cuellar said. “I have never seen nor heard any of the ugly things said about Greg ever happen. It didn’t. … She is the last woman to put up with that type of behavior.”
For his part, Brockhouse said he didn’t want his wife’s personal life and medical health to be put under the microscope of an election, even at the cost of his perceived credibility with voters.
“I made a real conscious decision to not expose my wife and my family to get votes,” Brockhouse said. “I don’t think anybody deserved that piece of her heart.”
When asked about the 2009 police report at some of the numerous forums, media interviews, and debates leading up to the May election, Brockhouse chose his words carefully. Because the report was expunged, he and his wife are allowed to deny it existed or the event ever happened, according to state law, as are public and private entities involved with the removal of related records.
During public events, he repeatedly said the report was “false” and denied ever hitting his wife or his ex-wife. He never said the 2009 report was fabricated, but knew others were saying it and implied that Nirenberg’s campaign had something to do with its existence.
“We didn’t lie about anything,” Brockhouse said Tuesday, adding that it was “100 percent within my purview” not to divulge the full accounting of what happened that night.
During a candidate forum the Rivard Report co-hosted ahead of the runoff, he was asked him if “he or anyone he knew” had the report expunged.
He said he didn’t hear the “anyone he knew” part over the noisy crowd that night.
Brockhouse continues to maintain that some erroneous details in the report call into question the narrative of that night as described in the report.
“That thing is full of inaccuracies,” he said, noting the incorrect physical description of him, that they were fighting because he was drunk and lost a job, and incorrect penal code usage. He was employed at the time and he says he does not drink.
“I don’t really know what to do about that,” he said. During the campaign, he didn’t investigate it deeply because “to me, it wasn’t worthy of being in the conversation. It’s just false.”
The SAPD officer who responded to Annalisa Brockhouse’s call, Daniel Gomez, said he could not discuss the 2009 report or incident. A spokesman for the San Antonio Police Department said he could not comment on the matter.
Gomez reported the incident to the Department of Public Safety, which has a less-detailed record that indicates a “simple assault” and “intimidation” occurred at the Brockhouses’ address.
Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, declined to comment on the report because “the alleged police report has not been authenticated as real.”
Helle questioned the legality of whoever shared the unverified, expunged document with the Express-News.
The Express-News did not obtain the report through an open records request, according to its coverage.
The Brockhouses’ new account of that night in 2009 seems to raise more questions than it answers, said Kelton Morgan, Nirenberg’s campaign advisor.
“He’s now admitting that the police were actually called to his house and they are impugning the integrity of a San Antonio police officer for reasons that remain unclear,” Morgan said.
Morgan speculated that Brockhouse is angling to run for mayor, or another elected office, again.
“He’s trying to put this to bed now so that two years from now he can say, ‘Why are we still talking about this?’” Morgan said.
For now, Greg Brockhouse said, he’s done with running for office.
He said he will “get back into the business world,” specifically mortgage lending, some possible partnerships on various companies, and political consulting. He also plans on starting a podcast to “continue the conversation” started during his campaign.
Brockhouse and his wife don’t expect people who already don’t like him to be convinced by their story, they said.
“I don’t think it even has anything to do with [the facts of] this incident as much as it has to do with a like or dislike for Greg,” she said. “This is more for me to finally tell the truth about the situation.”