‘It’s a start’: SA police union supports proposed rule calling for oversight of large county district attorneys

Public comment period on proposal currently open

SAN ANTONIO – The Attorney General’s proposed rule could affect the Bexar County District Attorney’s office, which has been scrutinized for its handling of violent crime cases.

Under the proposed rule, AG Ken Paxton would be allowed to remove DA’s of large counties who do not provide additional reporting on certain cases.

“District Attorneys who choose not to prosecute criminals appropriately have created unthinkable damage in Texas communities,” Paxton’s statement read. “These enhanced reporting standards will create much-needed transparency and enable the public to hold their elected officials accountable.”

San Antonio Police Officer’s Association President Danny Diaz called the proposal “a start.”

Diaz has not been shy about his frustration with Bexar County DA Joe Gonzales.

“He needs to be held accountable,” said Diaz. “And this is just a start, to where the attorney general can make sure that the district attorney does his job, if he does at all.”

In January, KSAT discovered hundreds of text messages between the Bexar County DA’s office and the Wren Collective, a criminal justice reform group.

Records show the group advised the DA’s office on how to handle the Erik Cantu shooting.

Ex-San Antonio Police officer James Brennand is accused of shooting the then-17-year-old Cantu in a McDonald’s parking lot in October 2022, after identifying Cantu’s vehicle from an evading arrest case the previous night.

All correspondence regarding any decision not to indict a person who was arrested for committing a violent crime would be required to be reported under the proposed rule.

Diaz has called the communications between the Wren Collective and the DA’s office unethical.

“Hopefully the AG’s office can get that documentation and show where there are discrepancies in the way that he’s running his office,” said Diaz.

Since Wednesday, KSAT reached out to the Bexar County DA’s office seven times requesting an interview with Gonzales about Paxton’s proposal.

They failed to make Gonzales available.

Gonzales released a statement Friday, calling the proposed rule “burdensome, unnecessary, and potentially very costly to our citizens.”

“Well, I think what’s costly to our citizens is, him dropping cases and allowing individuals to commit crimes scot-free,” said Diaz.

The 30-day public comment period went into effect on March 8.

After 30 days, the AG’s office said it could enact a final rule.

About the Authors

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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