The City of San Antonio has declined a request by KENS 5, a local news organization, to release footage of an officer-involved shooting that took place on August 24. The city cited an ongoing “child abuse investigation” as the reason for denying access to the video. This development comes amid a recent surge in officer-involved shootings in the city, with a total of five incidents occurring in less than two weeks. These incidents have resulted in injuries to six officers, one of whom accidentally shot himself during a police pursuit.
According to Police Chief William McManus, the San Antonio Police Department will release body camera footage of the officer-involved shootings in the near future. However, the video related to the August 24 incident will not be made public. Details of this particular incident have emerged, with reports indicating that the police were pursuing a 24-year-old suspect named Jesse Garcia, who had multiple outstanding warrants. Garcia allegedly opened fire from a car, causing serious injuries to one officer. He then carjacked someone and fled to a west-side apartment, where he shot another officer.
In response to the city’s denial of access to the footage, KENS 5 submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. However, the city invoked the “Family Code Section” of Texas law, stating that any investigation related to child abuse is considered confidential. As a result, full reports and video materials cannot be accessed by the public or the media.
The connection between the officer-involved shooting and the alleged child abuse investigation remains unclear. On the same day as the shooting, Jesse Garcia was charged with five counts of “Aggravated Assault Against a Public Servant” and one count of “Aggravated Kidnapping.” KENS 5 has also requested access to body camera and dash camera footage of the other four officer-involved shootings that have occurred recently in San Antonio. The outcome of this request is yet to be determined.
As the public eagerly awaits the release of the body camera footage, concerns about transparency and accountability in law enforcement are once again at the forefront. The resolution of this matter will shed light on the delicate balance between the need for justice and the protection of sensitive information in ongoing investigations.