San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg talks police relations, pandemic in KSAT Q&A

Nirenberg reacts to SAPD body camera footage of Black jogger arrest

SAN ANTONIO – Mayor Ron Nirenberg addressed two of the big issues plaguing the nation and San Antonio on the latest KSAT Q&A -- racial injustice and coronavirus.

He first reacted to the recent release of SAPD body camera footage that showed the wrongful arrest of a Black jogger, Mathias Ometu. He said the video showed two sides of a story that goes beyond San Antonio.

“I think it illustrates the difficult and complex situations that police in our community and members of our community, the Black community, find themselves having to navigate every single day,” he said. “And it’s seemingly impossible at times. That video, that situation illustrates all the complexities that we have to deal with in terms of policing and community relations in America right now. And there’s going to be a lot of learning from it. There already has been.”

Nirenberg was one of the first city officials to call for the release of the body camera footage.

“It’s almost as if you’re watching the scene from one of these other videos in another city take place.” Nirenberg referred to the San Antonio police department as one of the best in the country but says it’s not excused from the national conversation.

“Is there work to do? Absolutely there is. There is in policing in America and we’re no different. But there is a concerted and honest effort being done in this community, in this city to get these issues addressed,” he said.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Ron Nirenberg says there have been over 160,000 unemployment claims in San Antonio. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, it could take years for those jobs to come back, if at all.

“We have a challenge across the country, but certainly here in San Antonio of making sure that people in this community have an opportunity to get into a job, one that is available, but also is steady and stable and is able to make ends meet for their families,” Nirenberg said.

Nirenberg talked about a new workforce recovery strategy that consists of training and job placement programs. During the weeks or months of the program, participants will be getting paid for their training and then be placed in a position when training is over. It’s made possible by the CARES Act and will enroll roughly 10,000 people currently unemployed.

The mayor hopes to extend the program for an additional four years. That will be up to voters to decide come November.

Watch KSAT Q&A Monday-Friday at 6:30 p.m. and on the Nightbeat.

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