SAPD won’t release body cam footage in 3 fatal shootings in 2021, could release footage from 3 others

SAPD has yet to release any footage since updating body-worn camera policy in Dec.

SAN ANTONIO – On Thursday, SAPD officials said they plan to release bodycam footage and 911 recordings of the deadly San Antonio Airport shooting and two other shootings involving officers that happened earlier this month, but won’t release footage of two other deadly shootings from 2021 -- bringing the total of unreleased incidents to three this year.

The San Antonio Police Department said in a statement Thursday that it is currently preparing the videos and recordings of three shootings in April; however, it’s unclear when specifically they will be released to the public.

The announcement comes months after the department updated its policy related to releasing records — including officers’ bodycam footage — to the public when officers shoot people or use force that results in death. That Dec. 2020 policy change put SAPD in line with most other major law enforcement departments in Texas and was implemented “with the goal of further enhancing transparency,” wrote SAPD Chief William McManus.

According to its updated policy, the videos and recordings must be released within 60 days after the incident, with few exceptions.

SAPD has yet to release any body cam footage under the new policy. McManus refused to release body camera footage of a fatal shooting outside South Park Mall that occurred in January, saying that releasing the video would cause distress to the mother of the man who was shot.

SAPD announced that it will not be releasing bodycam footage or 911 recordings of two more incidents from 2021 because they involved domestic violence.

“Critical Incidents where domestic violence is involved or suspected will not be released unless the Chief of Police determines it serves a law enforcement purpose. There have been two officer involved shootings within the past 60 days that involve domestic violence. The videos and 911 recordings related to these incidents will not be released in accordance with the procedure,” the police department said in a release.

These two incidents include:

So far this month there have been three shootings in which SAPD officers opened fire and killed suspects. In each of the three instances, police said that their officers were shot at first.

SAPD said Thursday they are planning to release the bodycam footage and 911 recordings from these incidents:

About the Author:

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