Defenders investigate threats against San Antonio police, officials

Cops, city manager, even code enforcement subject to threats

SAN ANTONIO - A KSAT 12 Defenders investigation found that government employees and elected officials in San Antonio have been the subject of threats and that police officers are the main target.

The investigation was launched after an alleged death threat against District Judge Angus McGinty surfaced earlier this year.

The Defenders asked for threats lodged against city employees or officials from Jan. 1, 2012, up until the summer of 2013.

The research resulted in 12 reports and 44 pages of information and showed that police officers -- by far -- received the highest number of threats.

One such threat occurred after a 2 a.m. traffic stop in in June 2012.

An SAPD officer pulled over a car on Interstate 10 and the cruiser’s dash camera and microphone recorded it all.

"You're being stopped for speeding, 82 in a 65,” the officer is heard telling the driver. “License and insurance, please."

The officer reported later that he smelled alcohol on the driver, who admitted he was not old enough to drink.

"I just got to get to my girl,” the driver said on the dash cam recording. “Right now, she's having the baby.”

Despite that plea, the driver was put in handcuffs.

While in the police car, the officer reported the man used "insulting language" and said "he would take care of me." The man was charged with terroristic threats against a public servant.

But San Antonio police Sgt. Javier Salazar said not all threats are crimes and that officers have to ask themselves several questions.

"Is that suspect actually capable of carrying out the threat that he's posing?” Salazar said. “Is it an imminent threat?"

Other reports by other officers show suspects telling them everything from "I'm going to come find you" to "I'm going to kill you" to "next time I see you, it's on like popcorn."

The San Antonio Police Officers Association said each individual officer must determine how seriously to assess that threat.

SAPOA President Michael Helle said it happens more than people might expect.

"It happens quite often -- almost every day, I would venture to say," Helle said.

The union said that is because there are so many officers on the street.

"They're encountering people in their worst possible moment,” Helle said. “They're taking them away and they're arresting them."

Other threats reported include those against a caseworker for Child Protective Services, a code enforcement officer and an employee who accepts passport applications.

An email to City Manager Sheryl Sculley described "crimes of shooting, rape, taking a person hostage."

Another talked of "taking the Mayor's family hostage."

Official threats can be classified as third-degree felonies, punishable by jail time.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.


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