Family of Erik Cantu hires civil rights attorney Ben Crump

Teenager was shot by San Antonio police officer in McDonald’s parking lot

Attorney Ben Crump (AP Photo/Nicole Neri ) (Nicole Neri, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The family of the teen who was shot by a San Antonio police officer has hired high-profile civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

Erik Cantu, 17, was shot by James Brennand in a McDonald’s parking lot on Oct. 2.

He is currently on life support at University Hospital and has injuries to his stomach, liver, diaphragm, lungs and arms, according to attorney Brian Powers who is also representing Cantu.

“It should go without saying that our children should be able to eat a meal in peace without being gunned down by police, but here we are –– yet again,” Crump said in a statement sent to KSAT via email.

Brennand said he suspected the car Cantu was driving was stolen, but San Antonio police have since confirmed that wasn’t the case.

“Erik was unarmed and simply eating a cheeseburger when this officer violated his fourth amendment rights by opening his car door, violently accosting and shooting at him ten times,” Crump said in the statement.

The camera footage released by SAPD following the incident shows Brennand approaching the red sedan, while Cantu and a female passenger were eating inside.

The footage shows Brennand opening the door of the vehicle without warning as Cantu looks up from his meal.

Brennand attempts to physically remove Cantu from the vehicle and that’s when the teen reverses out of the parking spot with the door still open.

Brennand then starts firing shots into the vehicle with both teens still inside. He fires more shots into the back of the vehicle as Cantu puts the car in drive and attempts to leave the area.

He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant, a first-degree felony.

“These charges are woefully inadequate considering the level of violence that this officer inflicted on the victims in the car,” Crump said. “We lift Erik and his family up in prayer as he fights for his life, and we will continue to push for justice in his name.”

Crump is a well-known attorney who specializes in wrongful death lawsuits and has been hired to work on high-profile cases including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

Co-counsel Paul Grinke will also be representing the Cantu family along with Crump.

You can watch the video released by SAPD of the shooting below. WARNING: Video is graphic and viewer discretion is advised.

SAPD officer who shot teen outside McDonald’s restaurant fired following review of incident. WARNING: VIDEO IS DISTURBING


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.