SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said law enforcement, public safety staff and local businesses are prepared for the peaceful protest planned for Saturday afternoon.
The protest is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Travis Park and is in response to the recent killing of Houston native, George Floyd.
McManus said 75 Department of Public Safety Troopers as well as numerous San Antonio police officers and other officials will be working at the protest for safety, in case behaviors escalate.
“Based on what’s happening in Dallas, Austin, Houston... We have a massive show of force. We hope that show of force deters anybody from doing anything that would be destructive,” McManus said. “We hope we don’t have those issues here but if we do, we’ll be ready for them.”
All downtown businesses have been notified of the protest and McManus said owners will take the appropriate actions in case the protest gets out of hand and will close their doors.
McManus said he met with the protest organizers and believes the protest will be peaceful. He encourages the public to exercise their First Amendment rights but to do so in a way that isn’t destructive.
A number of downtown streets will also be closed down for safety during the protest and to ensure traffic won’t be an issue, McManus said.
Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he passed out and later died, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Floyd’s death led to protests about racial disparities throughout the nation and some turned violent. Some of these protests were in Texas’ two largest cities — Dallas and Houston.
McManus said in Saturday’s briefing that what happened in Minneapolis to Floyd is “an absolute tragedy.”
“What happened in Minneapolis to Mr. Floyd is an absolute tragedy. What happened to the police officers is an absolute justice in this case,” McManus said. “This is a tragedy beyond words and as I wrote in my statement for this evening that our hearts go out to the Floyd family. We don’t teach that kind of tactic. It’s an absolute step back for all law enforcement.”
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg has spoken out on Floyd’s death on Twitter, saying, “The fires of racism have been stoked by the murder of another Black American in police custody. The scenes are heartbreaking. George Floyd deserves justice. The Black community deserves justice. And if that justice is to be blind, then we must see clearly in its pursuit.”
We’ll bring more updates as they become available.