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Lt. Gov. Asks Texas AG To Investigate SAPD Decision In Human Smuggling Incident

Ryan Poppe
Texas Public Radio
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick asked the Texas attorney general’s office to investigate if the San Antonio Police Department broke any provisions relating to the state’s Sanctuary Cities Law, also known as SB4. The AG’s office may be launching an investigation.

In the letter sent to Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday, Patrick said he was very troubled over reports of San Antonio Police Chief William McManus releasing immigrants in December who may be in the country illegally “without proper investigation, identification of witnesses, or cooperation with federal authorities. Such action could be in direct violation of the recently passed Senate Bill 4 and threatens the safety of citizens and law enforcement.”

A spokesman for the attorney general confirmed a letter was sent to San Antonio officials late Wednesday night asking the city to preserve any and all records related to an investigation.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said he had not received a hard copy of Paxton’s request but had seen a digital version. He called it “frivolous political theater from Austin, where some would rather punish cities than fund schools.”

On Dec. 23, McManus made the call to charge the driver of the smuggling incident at the state level instead of the federal level. The 12 immigrants were released after questioning at police headquarters.

Earlier this week, Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association, called for McManus to be placed on leave while an investigation could be conducted by a third party. In response to Helle, City Manager Sheryl Sculley said in a statement she had no intention on placing the chief on administrative leave.

“No rule, directive, regulation or law was broken or circumvented. The chief acted within his jurisdiction and, as acknowledged by federal law enforcement, had no real authority to hold the 12 individuals after they were questioned,” she said at the time.

Joey Palacios can be reached at joey@tpr.org or on Twitter at @joeycules.