SAN ANTONIO – A coalition of more than a dozen organizations delivered more than 35,000 signatures to the city clerk’s office on Tuesday in hopes of making sweeping changes to the city charter of San Antonio that voters would decide on in the May Election.
According to a news release, the San Antonio Justice Charter aims to amend the city charter by adopting a justice policy that will reduce unnecessary arrests, mitigate racial bias, and save scarce public resources through a comprehensive set of popular reforms, including:
- Ending enforcement of low-level marijuana possession
- Ending enforcement of abortion “crimes”
- Banning no-knock police warrants
- Banning police chokeholds
- Prioritizing citations instead of arrests for low-level nonviolent crimes
Some of the organizations supporting the effort include Ground Game Texas, Act 4 SA, the Texas Organizing Project, Party for Socialism and Liberation, SA Stands, and MOVE Texas.
“Once again, Ground Game Texas is proud to partner with incredible local organizations to successfully put popular, progressive reforms directly on the ballot that would improve public safety and protect basic rights,” said Julie Oliver, Executive Director of Ground Game Texas. “The San Antonio Justice Charter is a groundbreaking initiative that will make San Antonio a model for public safety reform across Texas and the nation, and we look forward to putting it in front of voters on the May ballot.”
While the possibility of the amendment making the ballot is likely, opposition from the police union is certain.
“The main concern is it’s chipping away at discretion. It’s chipping away at the tools of the trade that officers have to their - to be able to use to the best of their ability to make sure that they save lives,” San Antonio Police Officers Association President Danny Diaz said in a recent interview with KSAT 12 News.
Diaz said this is “the same threat” as the 2021 fight over “Prop B,” a ballot initiative that would have stripped his union’s ability to collectively bargain for a contract. However, he said this time is “a whole lot different.”
“Now we have a little bit more time to educate the community and the citizens to see what it is that they want,” Diaz said.