SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar took to his social media account on Wednesday to weigh in on the controversy that has developed from asking the Bexar County Commissioners Court for a rescue boat.
“Everybody chill a bit. Be kind. Respect everyone,” Salazar asked in his lengthy Facebook post accompanied with a photo of him smiling at the beach labeled with the words, “Back from vacation. What did I miss?”
Salazar’s comments were his first since he briefly addressed the issue in response to a letter that County Judge Nelson Wolff sent him Monday criticizing the sheriff for ignoring social media attacks targeted toward Precinct 3 Commission Trish DeBerry for her questioning of the vessel. Ultimately, the commissioners delayed approving the purchase to gather more information about maintenance and other potential costs.
Jarred Taylor, a local resident who is an executive with Black Rifle Coffee Company, said he was irked by news coverage of DeBerry’s line of questioning. In an Instagram post with an image of Taylor and Salazar posing with a $32,000 check for the boat, Taylor tagged DeBerry and criticized her. The post, which was liked more than 28,000 times, ended with “Good luck during the next election season, because I will be making my own ads free of charge.”
The post prompted nearly 1,000 comments, many of them disparaging of DeBerry, who said because of threats against her and her family, is in the process of filing a police report.
Salazar said he’s been on a family beach vacation but “couldn’t help keeping up with what is going on in social media world and in the news.”
“Judge Wolff and Commissioner DeBerry are being treated a bit harshly by the comments. Yes, we’re elected officials with thick skins. Yes, we disagree, but I hate to see anyone treated that way. My family and I have been on the receiving end of it ourselves before and it’s never fun. Can we just stop?
“In my opinion, words like what Judge Wolff describes to me in his letter should never be directed at anyone, ESPECIALLY a lady. Although she’s a public official, Commissioner Trish DeBerry is a lady and should be treated as such at all times. She’s somebody’s Mom and somebody’s daughter, y’all. Would we want our Mom or daughter subjected to that?” Salazar asked in his post.
While the sheriff asked the public to leave Wolff and DeBerry alone, he said that Taylor and his company cannot be blamed for what social media commenters said.
“Jarred Taylor and Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) are NOT at fault here. These guys, whom I never met before that now infamous press conference, stepped up to help our Bexar County Sheriff’s Foundation (BCSF) with equipment to help safeguard our community. They can’t be held responsible for comments made by anonymous folks on Jarred’s personal page. Jarred didn’t say anything wrong. BRCC didn’t say anything wrong. Although Jarred and I absolutely agree the language is pretty darn offensive, there is still a First Amendment,” Salazar said.
Salazar said that his agency needs a boat and is among the largest sheriff’s offices in Texas without one. He said with recent drownings in the San Antonio area recently, and with summer in full swing, BCSO needs a vessel for water emergencies.