Police union, SAPD chief respond to 'no confidence' vote
McManus says he will not resign
SAN ANTONIO – After a one-sided vote of "no confidence" in Chief William McManus, the San Antonio Police Officers Association is calling for his resignation and termination.
SAPOA President Michael Helle said 90 percent of the union membership cast ballots in the vote. Out of those members, 97 percent voted they did not "have confidence in the direction that Chief McManus is taking the department."
"This pains me to see a man that has lost his mojo. He's lost it with this department," Helle said.
The no confidence vote came in the wake of the police shooting on Antronie Scott, an unarmed man wanted on felony warrants in February. John Lee, the officer who shot him, was given a "contemplated indefinite suspension."
The union saw that as a sign McManus was implementing what they believed was a dangerous reform in setting a higher standard for use of force.
As the voting period began, McManus changed course on Lee's discipline, saying he wouldn't be fired. The chief also appeared on a city podcast and said he opposed the specific reform the union had singled out.
It wasn't enough to win the vote.
"Only was it after he talked to our rank and file individually and then went to try and bring them in as a group did he realize that he stepped in it," Helle said.
Helle said that if the city manager and mayor fail to act, the council should take over "and stop Sheryl Sculley and Ivy Taylor from destroying SAPD any further than what they've already begun."
The union also took a vote on whether to return to the bargaining table for contract negotiations. Out of the same turnout, 99 percent of the ballot-casting members said did not think "the SAPOA Bargaining Team should return to negotiations with the city of San Antonio while the city continues to sue us, the membership of the SAPOA."
McManus says he will not resign
The city held a press conference Thursday afternoon on the steps of City Hall in a show of support for McManus.
The crowd was comprised of city employees, officers and city council members.
Mayor Pro-tem Rey Saldana, who represents District 4 on City Council, City Manager Sheryl Sculley and other council members took turns behind the microphone to voice their support of McManus.
McManus told the crowd that SAPOA leadership has misled its members with rumors. For that reason, he said he considers the no confidence vote to be illegitimate.
"My No. 1 priority, contrary to what's floating out there, is police and community safety. The most preposterous statement that has been said is that I don't care about officer safety," McManus said.
The chief also said he believes union members were pressured to vote "no confidence."
Most council members agreed, expect for District 7 Councilman Chris Medina, who said the vote should be taken seriously.
Medina doesn't think anyone was pressured on the vote. He also agrees with union leaders who say the city's lawsuit should be dropped.
City spokesman Jeff Coyle doesn't see McManus going anywhere.
"The vote won't have an impact on the chief and his job. The mayor and council strongly support him. The city manager supports him. The community loves Chief McManus," Coyle said. "Unfortunately, these are all tactics that are part of their contract negotiations."
Mayor Ivy Taylor released her own video statement after the vote result, focusing on the Scott shooting.
"Now is the time to turn to solutions," Taylor said. "And as angry as community members may be and as uncomfortable and disconcerted as SAPD officers may be with changing times and expectations, firing a highly competent and respected police chief is not the solution, as it only serves to divide us at a time when we need to come together now more than ever."
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