ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The attorney of an Abilene officer who was granted extended leave for her ongoing struggle with PTSD and substance abuse following an on-duty injury says he “admires her courage” for being forced to fight this battle publicly.
Zach Horn, who represented Officer Mary Guitar during a public hearing where city council members voted on the status of her leave, spoke to KTAB and KRBC afterward, saying his client has been nothing but courageous in the aftermath of such an awful event.
“I admire her courage on March 18, 2020, and I admire he courage almost 2.5 years later,” Horn explains. “It takes a lot of courage to fight these battles in private, and it takes even more courage when you’re forced to fight them publicly as well.”
Officer Guitar was stabbed multiple times in the head and face while trying to apprehend a robbery suspect.
In the months and years following the attack, her physical wounds healed, but Officer Guitar continued to struggle with PTSD and substance abuse, which caused her multiple issues with working not only in the field but at the desk as well.
She eventually used up all of her paid leave, which is what prompted Thursday’s public hearing because all extended leave requests must be presented before city council.
During the hearing, council asked Chief Marcus Dudley, Jr. what he thought of the situation, and he requested they deny Officer Guitar’s request for leave.
“I am not comfortable under the circumstances with accepting that in another four months, things will be different,” Chief Dudley said when asked by council for his expert opinion.
Horn says that he thinks, “Chief Dudley’s presentation demonstrated common ignorance as to the effects of PTSD.”
He also said he prays that, “the presentation doesn’t have a chilling effect on the other first responders who may be suffering the effects of PTSD personally, and may be afraid to ask for help.”
Horn also said that Officer Guitar is now one year sober, and she attributes her success to the organization Warrior’s Heart.
Officer Guitar’s request for 4 months of extended leave at 100% pay was granted after a vote by council members of 4 to 3.
Afterward, Chief Dudley did release a statement saying he will support Officer Guitar moving forward.
Read more about what was discussed in the hearing here.