SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Attorney General's Office has received nearly three dozen complaints alleging San Antonio Police Chief William McManus violated the state's Sanctuary Entities Ban in December 2017.
The law, also known as Senate Bill 4, took effect Sept. 1, 2017. It "(1) prohibits a local entity or campus police department from adopting or enforcing a policy that prohibits enforcement of state or federal immigration law (the anti-sanctuary provisions) and (2) requires compliance with federal immigration detainer requests (the detainer provisions)." Two other parts of the law have not been enacted because of pending litigation that specifically addresses two phrases of the law: "materially limits" and "endorse." An appeals court ruling in March left that issue to a district court.
In December, McManus responded to a scene where an 18-wheeler was found with a dozen immigrants inside, the suspected victims of human smuggling. While an agent from Homeland Security also responded to the call, police said it was a state and not federal. The District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case. The immigrants were released to local charities instead of federal investigators.
That's when the Texas AG's Office started receiving complaints alleging McManus violated SB4, some through its SB4 Complaints page. People can fill out a form, call a number, send an email or upload a complaint directly to the AG's Office.
Of the 31 complaints The Defenders obtained through an open records request, at least four of them appear to have come from San Antonio police officers. The names of the complainants were compared to a list KSAT-12 has of city employees with their job descriptions. One complaint submitted via email came from "Jerry Miller (police officer)." There is a person on SAPD with that name.
Another confirmed officer who complained is Michael Helle. He is also the president of the San Antonio Police Officer's Association. Helle has called for McManus to be placed on leave while the AG investigates the complaints. City Manager Sheryl Sculley has said, "No rule, directive, regulation or law was broken or circumvented. The chief acted within his jurisdiction, and as acknowledged by federal law enforcement, had no real authority to hold the 12 individuals after they were questioned."
San Antonio District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse also filed a complaint. Eight of the complaints left no name.
The AG's Office received complaints from the following:
- John Bryant
- Kym Bolado
- Steph Newman
- Annette Brewster
- Reynaldo Espinoza
- Ralph Pulliam
- Michael Najvar
- Vanessa Watson
- Brian Stanush
- Michael Delgado
- Marvin Ryals
- AD Smoot
- Gayle McDaniel
- Angelica Miller
- David Moore
- Henry Flores
- Eluterio Rendon
- Nicole Harper
- Anna Marie Sanchez Helle
- Jon Tom McAnear
Bryant, who lives in New Braunfels, wrote, "The San Antonio chief of police admitted to reporters on Friday that he released 12 alleged illegal aliens who were smuggled in the back of a tractor-trailer. He did so without allowing the federal government to properly vet them for criminal or immigration records. He also made the decision to charge the driver under Texas human smuggling statutes, despite releasing the purported witnesses to the alleged crime."
Watson, who lives in Redondo Beach, California, wrote, "I do not reside, or work within Texas. I am submitting this complaint because I am a United States citizen and with McManus releasing 12 illegal aliens into the community of Texas, they now have the ability to travel throughout the United States to cause harm to anyone in any state. McManus should be severely punished."
Other complaints appear to have been duplicated by different complainants.
One complaint was sent by four people, asking a series of questions about possible communication between McManus and Mayor Ron Nirenberg on the day of the alleged smuggling incident. CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLAINT
The most common was sent 11 times by different people -- including Helle. It seeks the status of the investigation "into this very important public safety issue." CLICK HERE TO READ THIS COMPLAINT
In May, the AG confirmed "the investigation is currently ongoing."