The Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG) confirmed to Breitbart Texas that it is conducting an investigation into a possible violation of the state’s new sanctuary city law by San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. The investigation could lead to a criminal prosecution under the SB4 anti-sanctuary city law passed in the 2017 legislative session.
“Our office has received multiple complaints alleging that the San Antonio police chief violated Senate Bill 4, the Texas law prohibiting sanctuary city policies that the attorney general has authority to enforce,” OAG spokesman Mark Rylander said in response to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas. “We have begun our investigation and demanded that the San Antonio Police Department preserve all of its records relating to the incident.”
The AG Ken Paxton’s office also sent a letter to the City of San Antonio demanding the preservation of any evidence that might be related to the case.
“Several citizens have filed complaints with the Texas Attorney General’s Office regarding an incident on December 23 involving the release of numerous suspected illegal aliens,” Assistant Texas Attorney General Cleve W. Doty wrote in the letter (attached below) which is also addressed to the San Antonio Police Department, City Council, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, City Attorney Andy Segovia, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and Police Chief William McManus.
“The Texas Attorney General’s Office will investigate these complaints and the procedure in Senate Bill 4 contemplates litigation,” Doty continued. “We demand that you affirmatively preserve all relevant materials.”
The AG’s office is asking for records of all of the officers involved in the incident, any recordings of the incident, office and personal phone records of Chief McManus, his assistants, and the officers involved in the incident, and any orders Chief McManus gave to any subordinate officer regarding the incident or the illegal immigrants.
The letter demands written confirmation by Monday, January 15.
“This letter serves to warn you of your duty to preserve all relevant information pending an imminent, statutorily-mandated investigation,” Doty concluded in the letter.
In May 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the nation’s toughest law prohibiting local police from interfering with immigration law enforcement.
“All law enforcement officers are going to be required to follow this law,” Governor Abbott told Breitbart Texas in an exclusive interview immediately after signing the SB4 bill into law. “If they refuse to follow this law, or if they adopt sanctuary city policies, they are subject now to the stiffest penalties in America for adopting sanctuary city policies – which includes jail time where sheriffs could wind up in the same jail they may be releasing inmates from who are the subject of ICE detainer requests.”
The law provides both civil and criminal penalties for city and law enforcement officials who violate the law.
It appears this will be the first investigation by the Texas OAG into potential violations of the State’s new law.
“We finally have a higher authority looking into the chief’s conduct,” San Antonio Police Officers Association President Mike Helle told Breitbart Texas on Thursday morning. “That is a good thing.”
Helle said there are several discrepancies between the information being handed out by Police Chief William McManus and what officers on the ground witnessed. “The staffs of our state’s leaders listened closely to what our officers had to say,” Helle explained. “They were not happy at all with what they heard.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.