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SAPOA to take vote of 'no confidence' in Chief William McManus

Union vote expected by March 18

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SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Police Chief William McManus has lost the trust of the officers, the president of the police union said Tuesday night.

The San Antonio Police Officers Association said members will conduct a "no confidence" vote by March 18.

"This vote was demanded by the membership, and the SAPOA leadership agreed it was necessary to send a clear message to the City Council that we no longer have faith in the chief of police to implement policies that take care of police officers and their families," said Michael Helle, president of SAPOA.

It comes after McManus told KSAT in February "the Code of Criminal Procedure – the CCP – for the state of Texas has a statue in there that says that police officers have no duty to retreat. We are looking to add to that by talking about or training on tactical – tactical repositioning, creating distance, creating space between the officer and someone, say, with an edged weapon."

Shortly after that interview, Officer John Lee shot and killed Antronie Scott during a traffic stop. Lee said he believed Scott was armed. Police later learned Scott was holding a cellphone. Last week, McManus said he was considering an indefinite suspension -- essentially a termination -- for Lee "for placing himself unnecessarily in a tactical situation wherein he felt compelled to use deadly force."

"We are duty-bound to protect our community, and this vote will send the message that we believe these policies only serve to put the public’s safety, and the safety of all police officers, in jeopardy,” said Helle.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley and Mayor Ivy Taylor stood behind McManus. Both pointed to the ongoing contract dispute between the city and SAPOA.

"The city is ready, willing and eager to get back to the negotiating table, but we have to have a willing party with whom to negotiate. At this time it seems union leadership is more concerned with dividing the force. I ask them again to put aside their stall tactics and return to the bargaining table so that we may come to a contract agreement that is fair to officers and affordable to taxpayers," Taylor said.

"The police union's attempt to undermine Chief McManus is outrageous and has absolutely zero effect on my confidence in the Chief's ability to lead and manage the San Antonio Police Department. The community has expectations about how officers conduct themselves, and the chief is part of a national effort to implement reforms in policing. The union needs to get back to the table to negotiate a contract that the taxpayers can afford. The 'evergreen' lawsuit goes away if and when a new contract is negotiated and ratified," Sculley said.