SAN ANTONIO – Amid the destruction and damage caused by a group of people Saturday night in downtown San Antonio, SAPD Chief William McManus shared high praise for his officers who kept the situation from escalating.
“We didn’t have one single report or complaint of excessive force last night,” McManus said Sunday. “Considering the amount of police officers that were out there and the level of intensity from the demonstrators and the assaults that they were doing on police officers, that’s pretty remarkable and it shows a great deal of professionalism from the San Antonio Police Department.”
At a press conference just after midnight Saturday, McManus said the groups of protestors that he had spoken with in the days leading to the event did exactly as they promised.
McManus said the groups said they would protest police brutality and the murder of George Floyd at Travis Park starting at 5 p.m., and then march to SAPD Public Safety Headquarters to light candles for a vigil.
They would then disperse at 6:30 p.m. and that was the case, but McManus said there were some “agitators” who remained and by nightfall started to destroy businesses and vandalize property.
“As it got darker they became more destructive. They were breaking windows. They broke into the Rivercenter Mall,” McManus said. “They splintered off to Commerce and Market streets and threw rocks and bottles at cars and police officers.”
At least three officers were injured by people who threw rocks, bricks and bottles at them, McManus said.
But the police chief said he was proud of the way his officers responded and did not allow tensions to completely boil over.
“The officers did a great job. They were restrained, they were professional in the face of insults, being hit with water bottles, glass bottles and rocks,” said McManus.
McManus added that the level of frustration was not surprising after what had occurred in Minneapolis and other cities across the country.
He called George Floyd’s murder one of the most “egregious” things he has ever seen in his law enforcement career and said it set law enforcement back in terms of their relationship with the public.
“We’ll go back to work like we always have and try to make up the ground that we lost after the Floyd murder in Minneapolis,” said McManus.
McManus said officers will be prepared should anything else happen on Sunday evening as the Alamo grounds close at 6 p.m. to the public and a curfew will go into effect from 10 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.