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Off-Duty Sheriff's Deputy Pepper Sprayed San Antonio Protesters From Truck

There have been 326 total positive COVID-19 cases in Bexar County's jail.
Kathleen Creedon | Texas Public Radio
The Bexar County Sheriff's Office and Detention Center.

This story was published on Friday, Aug. 28 and updated on Saturday, Aug. 29.

After Bexar County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed Damian Daniels, a network of San Antonio activists quickly organized a protest.

Daniels was a Black combat veteran. He and his family placed four calls to emergency dispatchers and the Red Cross requesting mental health assistance on Monday and Tuesday. While responding to the final call, deputies shot and killed him. 

On Wednesday, protesters chanted Damian Daniels’ name inside the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. Two people were detained, and one of them was later arrested for criminal mischief. 

Outside, an off-duty deputy’s truck was blocked by protestors, according to a BCSO spokesperson. 

The spokesperson said someone painted “ACAB” on the vehicle.

The deputy inside the truck sprayed the protestors with pepper spray. Officials with BCSO Internal Affairs said they are looking into the incident. 

Protesters said the deputy pepper sprayed them without provocation before someone put graffiti on the truck.  

Facing the possibility of more dangerous encounters, activists turned out to protest against police brutality and killings again on Friday. About 50 people gathered outside the sheriff's office in the early evening.

For Lexi Qaiyyim, an organizer with Young Ambitious Activists, the killing demonstrates the need for stronger mental health programs. 

“It's a mental health check. So, why is there not a mental health professional during this mental health crisis?” asked Qaiyyim.

Bexar County judge Nelson Wolff said the shooting should not have happened, and he’s seeking a change in policy. Sheriff Javier Salazar said his deputies did nothing wrong. The office has a mental health unit, but no officers from that unit were on the scene.

Dominic Anthony Walsh can be reached at Dominic@TPR.org and on Twitter at @_DominicAnthony.

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