YouTuber’s San Antonio River Walk video cut short after failing to obtain permit

‘The police were extremely forgiving,’ Brandon Jordan says

Image captured from the video "Stopped By Multiple POLICE For Cleaning Up River.. (urban treasure)."
Image captured from the video "Stopped By Multiple POLICE For Cleaning Up River.. (urban treasure)." (Copyright 2020 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – A popular outdoorsman who has over 2 million subscribers on YouTube was stopped by San Antonio police while diving for what he calls “urban treasure” in the River Walk portion of the San Antonio River.

In the video, like several of his other videos on YouTube, Brandon Jordan attempts to find lost wonders in public waters, including New Braunfels.

In a police report obtained by KSAT, Jordan was stopped at 11:52 a.m. on Oct. 19 by San Antonio police for violating a city ordinance: Swimming in San Antonio River, which is a misdemeanor offense and can be punished by a fine of up to $500.

Records show Jordan was given a verbal warning for the violation and advised that he needed to “contact Downtown Operations to gain access to the river and also the San Antonio River Authority.”

Kelly Saunders, public relations manager for the city of San Antonio, said the city’s film commission provided him with information for the film permitting process since permitting is required for commercial photography on city-owned property.

“Mr. Jordan was cited by Park Police for swimming in the San Antonio River, which is prohibited by City ordinance Sec. 22-87,” Saunders said. “The safety of all visitors is of utmost importance to the City of San Antonio, especially as this is an active and historic waterway.”

Maggie Thomspon, a spokeswoman for the San Antonio River Walk, said the city does not allow people to go into the river because of traffic from city maintenance boats and Go Rio tour boats.

“The river is pretty clean right now as debris from events and visitors gets fished out regularly – especially when it’s clear enough to see it,” Thompson said. “I doubt he found too many treasures. The maintenance does a great job with this.”

In the video, entitled “Stopped By Multiple POLICE For Cleaning Up River.. (urban treasure),” Jordan said he was excited to film in the area due to it being “one of the most urban rivers in the country.”

“I come out to this river, I just see how polluted it is, I was like ‘Man, we can make not only such a sick video here, but we could actually like clean up so much stuff,’” Jordan said. “Like literally hundreds of pounds of trash is here. Obviously, we get stopped by the cops and then we’re talking about that and then we get stopped by another lady who says we can’t even film without a film permit.”

Jordan told KSAT that essentially he’s seeking a permit for an activity that does not exist, seeing as though it’s such a special request.

“No ticket, thankfully Just a verbal warning, the police were extremely forgiving,” Jordan said. “Currently working with a few people trying to get a permit that doesn’t currently exist because it’s such a ‘special request.’ I assume no one has ever done this before.”

Jordan said he found a chair, shoe, an iPhone and a few pieces of trash during his brief dive.

Watch the video in full below:

Related: ‘There’s no place for this in the River Walk,’: SA River Authority says wakeboarding is illegal at city parks

About the Authors:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.