SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Officers' Association is hoping a restaurant’s mistake will educate the community and establishments within the community about the law in place for officers carrying weapons on certain premises.
On Saturday night, a San Antonio police officer was asked to leave Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse downtown because he was carrying his gun.
Many in the restaurant who witnessed a manager asking him to leave took to Facebook about the incident, which has raised several questions about the law in place.
Detective Mike Helle, president of the SAPOA, said he felt the restaurant acted in an inappropriate manner.
“I am afraid that it boils down to education,” Helle said. “I would like to think they are not anti-police or that that individual who asked him to leave is not anti-police, but I think he probably wasn’t educated on what the law allows or doesn’t allow.”
According to Texas law:
An establishment serving the public may not prohibit or otherwise restrict a peace officer or special investigator from carrying on the establishment’s premises a weapon that the peace officer or special investigator is otherwise authorized to carry, regardless of whether the peace officer or special investigator is engaged in the actual discharge of the officer’s or investigator’s duties while carrying the weapon.
- Place of lodging
- Retail business or other commercial establishment to which the general public is invited
- Sports venue
- Any other place of public accommodation, amusement, convenience, or resort to which the general public or any classification of persons from the general public is regularly, normally, or customarily invited.
“They would have been in the right if it was just a private citizen carrying like that, but the law is very specific when it comes down to a police or peace officer,” Helle said.
Helle said he hopes the restaurant will have a mini-training session for managers about this issue.
“They kind of made a boo-boo on this one, and the officer could have held his ground but he didn’t because he didn’t want to cause a scene,” Helle said. “We just hope that Fogo de Chao learns from this and if other businesses learn from it, as we then we all just kind of grew as a city.”
The restaurant has apologized and acknowledged the mistake, saying in a statement:
“We sincerely apologize to the San Antonio Police Department and the officer in question for the incident that occurred at our restaurant last night. Unfortunately, a member of our team made the wrong call. We are working hard to address and correct this unfortunate lapse in judgement. We will address the policy internally and make sure our team members are clear. We support, respect and appreciate everything our law enforcement does to keep each and every one of us safe, day in and day out.”