SAN ANTONIO – San Antonians have united over the last three weeks in protest amid the death of George Floyd.
Residents have taken to the downtown streets, gathering at the Public Safety Headquarters, the Bexar County Courthouse, Travis Park, and several other locations, shedding light on police brutality and social injustice.
On Sunday, Congressman Will Hurd, R-Texas, joined Leading SA to discuss these issues that have not only plagued the nation, but also have made quite the impact here in San Antonio.
“Well, my message is simple. You know, a black man should not be dying in police custody. We saw it happen again this Friday in Atlanta, and we should be making sure that police departments across the country are using best practices. This is something that we can incentivize through Congress,” Hurd said.
So what is the answer?
“There’s about $2 billion worth of Department of Justice grants that go to local police departments and we should be making sure those are going to people that are following best practices on mental health," Hurd said.
Hurd said police departments around the country can learn from San Antonio.
“San Antonio Police Department is kind of a leader when it comes to mental health. But unfortunately, across the country, most police departments only get about eight hours of training. The San Antonio Police Department does 40 hours. Why does this matter? One in every 10 stops at the police does have something to do with a mental health issue,” Hurd said.
Still, Hurd said there are systematic problems we need to face head-on as a nation.
“We also want to make sure that bad cops get fired. Oftentimes, a police chief knows who the bad cops are and they try to fire him, and through an adjudication process, they get put back on the force. That’s something that’s absolutely outrageous, and it impacts the reputation of the entire force,” Hurd said.
Although protesters are calling to “defund the police,” Hurd said that will certainly have a negative impact on safety.
“Well, ‘defund the police’ actually is going to make our communities less safe, right? And it’s a crazy idea, in my opinion," Hurd said. “But, we should be making sure every dollar goes to the police department, goes for best practices and improvement and being the best that they can be. And so, that’s what we’re working for.”
Going forward, Hurd it’s important residents feel safe, secure, and not discriminated against.
“Whether your skin is black or your uniform is blue, you shouldn’t be targeted on our streets," Hurd said.
Congressman Hurd also discussed the additional $18 million that was granted to San Antonio and El Paso from the CARES Act, the possibility of more stimulus money being granted, and what lies ahead for the local economy.
You can watch the full interview with Congressman Hurd in the video player above.