A disturbing video of a San Antonio police officer seen suddenly lunging and savagely punching at a 14-year old Black female is the talk of the community. The girl on the video was arrested and charged with assault on a public servant and appeared in juvenile court on May 22, 2017. Executive director of the Claude & ZerNona Black Development Leadership Foundation,, Taj Matthews helped to release the young lady and went to court. “The issue is that I have never seen anything like this. San Antonio should really be outraged. One particular officer punched her in the face. I couldn’t imagine her being my daughter as this is not acceptable.” Matthews states, “the student is an honor role student and is very respectable. The whole situation does not make any sense to me.”
Mayor Ivy Taylor issued a statement, saying: “"The video made public showing a scuffle between police officers and a girl is hard to watch and to listen to. SAPD is now reviewing body cam video to determine exactly what happened and Chief McManus is keeping me updated on the ongoing investigation. When I supported funding for body cameras it was for instances like this so that we can see exactly what happened and protect officers and citizens.” The girl, an eighth-grader who the San Antonio Observer is not identifying because she’s a minor, was arrested Saturday night on a criminal charge of assaulting a public servant, according to one of her lawyers.
She remained in the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center until Monday afternoon, when she was released by Judge Arcelia Trevino.
Taj Matthews commented on release of the student, “I believe the majority of our police officers get up every morning and put on their uniform with pride. They want to serve and protect their community. But there are bad officers that need to be removed and to be held accountable as they are not serving and protecting with honor. “ He continues, “I don’t expect a damn thing to happen to those officers that beat and punched that young lady. All they have to do is show their police union membership card and it’s a done deal.” Matthews continues, “When I went to President Obama’s White House Task Force on Community Policing I saw police officers, police chiefs, Black Lives Matter, community activists and city leaders all working together on a plan to develop working relationships that enable trust and teamwork in the community. Unfortunately that has not happened here locally. If they could come together to make a plan that works, why can’t we? We need a working plan in San Antonio. “
Another activist critical of the San Antonio Police Department, Mike Lowe said “This is another example of why Black Lives Matter...but the way the police officers manhandled this young girl demonstrates why San Antonio does not value Black people to include our children.” Lowe says, “The body cam footage needs to be released. The truth is this is the Mayor’s issue. The Police Chief will be judged on how he acts to discipline the officers.” Artessia House, one of the girl’s lawyers, said her client, an honor-roll student with no history of violence, did not assault the officer. House said one officer can be seen in the video “clear as day” striking the girl.
Police Chief William McManus issued a statement Monday night: “Per SAPD policy, the events leading up to the arrest of the juvenile for assaulting a public official is being investigated to ensure compliance with Department policies.”
The SA police department’s policy states that an officer can use physical force or an intermediate weapon if a suspect is actively being resistant. It goes on: “If circumstances allow, officers should attempt to de-escalate tense situations through ‘advisements, warnings, verbal persuasion, and other tactics’ to reduce the need for force.”
Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood can ultimately determine whether to proceed with the case or drop it. His office did not immediately respond.
Matthews adds, “I would like to see City Council recall the collective bargaining agreement. There is nothing beneficial to the citizens. I agree with the [police] pay raise 100 percent but I do not agree with the fact there are no disciplinary or performance measures. I resent those who asked for accountability and were demonized.”
**Warning Video Shows Disturbing Footage**
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