The May 1st city election, Ballot Proposition B, to remove the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association’s ability to protect bad cops is a civil and human rights issue. It has been brought to the attention of this coalition that numerous attempts to discredit and harass members of FIXSAPD have been made in San Antonio against petitioners who gathered signatures to remove Chapter 174 in a ballot measure that will be before the voters on May 1st. As you know, “the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” is enshrined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which this coalition fully supports. The requisite 20,000 valid signatures of registered voters and citizens on the ballot referendum were certified by the City of San Antonio. Nonetheless, Civil Rights leaders, petitioners, and non-violent volunteers are gravely concerned about the harassment and threats by persons identifying themselves as San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) officers, or who were wearing clothes with SAPD patches, or those of related organizations such as the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA), or the Texas Freedom Force. The FBI has identified the Texas Freedom Force as an “extremist militia” and has arrested a member in Dallas for participation in the Capitol Riot. Now that the petition has been certified, we have begun our support for this effort, but many of the non-violent petitioners, volunteers, and supporters have informed us that they have been followed and sometimes stopped and falsely accused of misrepresenting the purpose of the voter turnout effort to the citizens. We are very concerned because the harassment, intimidation tactics, and false statements by SAPOA appear to be increasing. We are concerned that members of racist groups and racially biased officers are in the local police forces as witnessed by one officer that repeatedly used the “N” word and was never disciplined as a result of a contract that protects bad officers.
In addition, SAPOA has made numerous false statements that claim those seeking justice and accountability are anti-police. Quite the contrary, those of us with police officers in our families know how important it is to get rid of bad cops. Moreover, SAPOA is using leaflets that attempt to characterize support for getting rid of the association that protects bad cops as rioters by depicting those seeking justice with violent racists during peaceful protests in another city. Additionally, this same leaflet projects a false image that those seeking redress, guaranteed by the Constitution, are somehow trying to get rid of all police. These lies are reminiscent of the old KKK-styled racist propaganda used to thwart the civil rights movement.
Therefore, we are asking for an FBI investigation of SAPD officers that have engaged in abuse, intimidation, and racist acts and have gone unpunished and under the radar because of a contract in force by the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association (SAPOA). With this police association our community is not safe as bad police officers are never even brought up on charges nor referred to the district attorney for prosecution. This request comes with data that shows there is a pattern of large numbers of unarmed people being killed, many of whom were shot in the back over the years. The contract in effect between the City of San Antonio and the police association is one that is used to perpetuate human and civil rights violations.