Group claims officer discipline section of San Antonio Police Officers Association deal is flawed

Dozens speak at City Council meeting, ask council to vote against contract

SAN ANTONIO – In just two weeks, the city council will vote to approve a contract with the San Antonio Police Officers Association. The San Antonio Black Lives Matter group is asking council members to vote "no."

It's been almost 2 1/2 years since an off-duty police officer shot and killed Marquis Jones at Chacho's on Perrin Beitel.

"The officer that murdered my son years ago is still on the streets," said Cheryl Jones, Marquis' mother.

That officer said Marquis was armed, and he shot him because he feared for his life. A grand jury chose not to indict the officer. Marquis' family has asked the district attorney for an appeal, but in the meantime are battling what they call a "bigger issue."

"Reconsider this SAPOA contract. We understand that it is a 'yes' or 'no' situation, so we are here to express our very loud 'no,'" said Black Lives Matter organizer Jonathan-David Jones at the City Council podium.

Cheryl Jones joined many others to address the City Council Wednesday night, speaking against certain parts of the Police Officers Association contract that deal with officer discipline.

The contract stated if an officer's actions are in question, past offenses will only be considered if they happened within a certain number of years. Some circumstances allow 10 years, others only five or two.

"We believe that the history should always be able to be open for the term of however long the officer has been an officer," said Black Lives Matter member Nehemiah O'Neal.

O'Neal believes putting a time cap on past offenses makes it harder to hold officers accountable and lessens transparency. He is also against another section of the contract, which states if an officer is suspended for three days or less, and the officer doesn't appeal within two years, the suspension will be reduced to a "written reprimand."

Council members who support the contract said this isn't the time and place to deal with officer discipline.

"If it means taking out a few bad apples from the department, that should always be on the table and always open for consideration. It shouldn't be when we're trying to come together as a community, work with the Police Department and work with the city to strike a deal that's fair, which we've done," said District 7 Councilman Chris Medina.

Medina and the majority of other council members have told KSAT they plan to support the contract as it is. Two City Council members said they will vote "no" on the contract.

During Wednesday's meeting, almost 25 people were on the list to speak about their opinions on the San Antonio Police Officers Association deal.

Come Sept. 1, the council will vote "yes" or "no" on the full contract's terms. They won't be making changes. If they vote "no," they will have to go back to the drawing board.

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