Hearing held for ex-SAPD officer James Brennand after DA, Wren Collective subpoena

DA ordered to hand over all communications between his staff and Wren Collective about high-profile 2022 shooting of teen by SAPD officer

SAN ANTONIOWatch the hearing in the video player above.

Original: A hearing on Wednesday morning will take place in the case of ex-SAPD officer James Brennand after his defense team requested a change of venue.

Ahead of the hearing on Tuesday, the Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales was ordered to hand over all communications between his staff and the Wren Collective about the high-profile 2022 shooting of a teenager by Brennand, court records obtained by KSAT Investigates show.

The subpoena in the aggravated assault by a public servant case against Brennand was filed by his defense team on Monday, days after KSAT revealed Gonzales’ staff had extensive discussions about the case with Jessica Brand, founder of the Austin-based criminal justice reform group the Wren Collective.

On-duty SAPD officer Brennand shot then-17-year-old Erik Cantu in a McDonald’s parking lot in October 2022, after identifying Cantu’s vehicle from an evading arrest case the previous night.

Three days after the shooting, SAPD released portions of body-worn camera footage that showed Brennand firing multiple rounds into the vehicle where Cantu and his then-17-year-old female friend Emily Proulx were eating, as Cantu attempted to back up and drive away.

The DA’s office rejected charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest against Cantu on Oct. 7, 2022.

Gonzales held a 3:30 p.m. press conference outside the Bexar County Justice Center to make the formal announcement.

Records obtained by KSAT show that on that same day, just before 9 a.m., Brand texted First Assistant District Attorney Christian Henricksen recommending that Gonzales hold a press conference with Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announcing the dropping of charges and to state that the incident had harmed public trust.

Henricksen replied that he was trying to get Gonzales on the phone and would be advising him to dismiss the charges “immediately.”

Henricksen later texted Brand that he was rejecting the cases against Cantu and that Gonzales wanted to move forward with a press conference.

Brand replied that a member of her team was working on talking points for the press event.

Brennand, who was indicted in the case in December 2022, is scheduled to make an appearance in the 437th District Court on Wednesday.

His defense team requested a change of venue for the trial in a motion filed in October.

Judge Joel Perez will preside over the hearing and decide the next steps.

The subpoena commands the DA’s office to produce by Wednesday morning text messages, emails, social media service messages, messaging applications, recorded conversations and tangible correspondence from both office-issued and personally owned devices.

Read more reporting on the KSAT Investigates page.

About the Authors

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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