SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar on Tuesday addressed rumors circulating on social media regarding groups that want to target small municipalities around San Antonio and South Texas with violence.
After a weekend of protests, Salazar said officials are expecting more.
“We are hoping they’re going to be peaceful,” said Salazar. “There are indications that they’re going to be, but, certainly, we are ready for that in the event that it should go either way.”
Salazar said a social media post he saw on Facebook suggested potential rioters believe suburbs with smaller police departments aren’t prepared to handle large crowds and, therefore, could cause plenty of chaos and destruction.
Salazar said the groups are “going to be woefully mistaken” if they think they can take advantage of smaller municipalities. The sheriff said he is offering the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office's full services to smaller law enforcement agencies in the area.
“Some of these groups with bad intentions may be looking to target suburban areas, where they feel like police presence is not as prepared. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Salazar said. “And I can tell you that whether you are in downtown San Antonio or unincorporated Bexar County or one of the suburban areas, there is absolutely police presence.”
He added his agency will not launch or take over investigations of other law enforcement agencies and is merely there to help.
The sheriff saw some of his deputies helped the San Antonio Police Department on Saturday night after peaceful protests ended and violence broke out downtown, resulting in injuries, destruction and arrests.
Salazar said another rumor going around is a post he saw on the Next Door app that discussed photographing homes that have police vehicles in the driveway as a way to target officers.
He urged off-duty officers urged to use caution and urged neighbors to call local law enforcement if they see something suspicious.
Whether the rumors are true or not, Salazar said deputies are prepared.
“If one of the suburban cities feels like they need some assistance with anything law enforcement related up to and including civil unrest, peaceful protests, regular calls for service -- whatever that may be -- I have made available the full services of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office,” Salazar said.
Salazar asks if anyone sees similar suspicious social media posts to report them by calling 210-335-6000 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.