Report states federal agent's offer to help during smuggling investigation was ignored
SAN ANTONIO —
The Texas Attorney General's Office is investigating San Antonio police Chief William McManus to determine if he violated SB4, also known as the "sanctuary cities" law, late last year.
A federal report released to us Tuesday shows a federal agent's account of what happened last December when San Antonio police Chief William McManus ordered his officers to release 12 undocumented immigrants without properly identifying them or releasing them into the custody of Homeland Security Investigations.
On December 23, 2017, a citizen approached an officer and told him he had seen something strange in the 3400 block of Copeland. When the officer got there, he found 12 people in the back of an 18-wheeler. The driver and a companion were also there. The police officer, as is customary in smuggling cases, immediately called Homeland Security to assist.
In the federal report filed by the agent who responded to the scene, he states that Chief McManus told him he did not want the agent's federal Homeland Security badge to be seen by the 12 immigrants because he didn't want him to scare them. The agent also stated that when he offered to help to do the Spanish interviews since there was only one Spanish speaking officer available, the chief ignored him and walked away.
Before the federal agent left police headquarters that night, he claims he asked the San Antonio sergeant in charge to call Federal Enforcement Removal Operations when the undocumented immigrants were released. The sergeant then showed the special agent a text that was allegedly from Chief McManus ordering the sergeant to release all of them, according to the report.
Read the full federal report here:
The mayor publicly defended police chief William McManus' handling of a human smuggling incident, stating he believes McManus followed protocol.
"All I can tell you is that our police chief is required to uphold the law and that's exactly what he did," Nirenberg previously said in a press conference. "Federal immigration is not part of our purview nor can it be."
Details released to us in January revealed that the December 2017 incident may be related to the July 2017 incident may be related. In the July 2017 incident, 10 people died after being found inside the back of a tractor-trailer on the South side of San Antonio.
The Texas Attorney General Office's investigation comes after a call for action by the San Antonio Police Association and District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse. The attention of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was then caught, leading him to ask for an investigation by Attorney General Ken Paxton.