SAPD IS ON THEIR WAY TO BEING THE DEADLIEST POLICE FORCE IN AMERICA THIS YEAR
San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) has just murdered its second person in its third officer-involved shooting in the course of one week- an absolutely staggering and horrifying number.
We can no longer accept police violence in our communities.
ACT 4 SA sends its condolences to the families of Ruben Garcia and Richard Rodriguez. We also stand ready to offer what resources, support, and services we can to both families- and we are ready to protest and take action as soon as you let us know.
SAPD is well on its way to becoming one of the deadliest police departments in the nation. For context, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has had 29 officer-involved shootings in 2023. SAPD has had 28 officer-involved shootings (including the three this week) this year, with 12 deaths. LAPD serves a population of almost 4 million people with 12,000 employees- almost 9,000 are uniformed officers. San Antonio has almost 1.5 million people with around 3,000 working in the department-2,500 of which are uniformed officers. This is a quarter of the size of L.A.
Worse- our own media has painted the narrative of our lost community members as “criminals” and “suspects” with rap sheets who ran from the cops, alluding that these folks had it coming. But with a police force this deadly and violent, and a jail recently in the news for having a high amount of deaths within its walls, what reason do they have for not running? They’re fleeing to survive. We must call out this character assassination in the media that plagues grieving families. SAPD has a responsibility to take people in safely and alive- and if you cannot make this a regular habit, then drop the badge.
The officer who shot Ruben was not responding to a call involving Ruben, nor had he witnessed a crime. He says he saw a gun, but Texas is an open carry state where permitless carry is allowed. Worse, his family has shared that they believe Ruben only had a speaker on him. His neighbor stated Ruben was down on the ground already with his hands behind him when the officer shot Ruben 4 or 5 times- clear excessive force. Ruben was loved, known for being loyal, reliable, and the father of 7. That’s what should be out there- not the fact that he had previous interactions with the criminal legal system that had nothing to do with this specific police interaction.
While we have not made contact with Richard’s family, we want to make it clear that an 18 year old still has their whole life ahead of them and does not deserve to have their life ended so violently. He is someone’s son, friend, cousin, sibling, he is a part of this community. At this point, there is so little information on the incident, right now we can only rely on one narrative- the murderer’s.
The criminal justice system is dystopian and unhinged. A product of racism, spite, and fear mongering. Individuals losing their lives in such an unjust manner is not only evil in nature it is unacceptable in our community. No longer should we excuse the murder of the innocent for their actions committed in the past. Utilizing a rap sheet as a means to justify the murder of our community members illustrates how truly unfair the system is as a whole.
October 22nd was a national day of protest against police brutality and criminalization– the same day that Ruben’s life was taken by police. Over a dozen victims’ families, and many more attendees, gathered with the Marquise Jones Foundation and ACT 4 SA to honor the community’s many lives lost to police violence locally in solidarity for this day of action. Few media attended, and absolutely NO elected officials or city or county leaders made it out. Their silence continues to be deafening even as police violence continues to happen so frequently in their respective districts. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor- PERIOD.
Therefore, we say no more celebrating cops for strides in mental health and care that OUR COMMUNITIES vouched for- often in exchange for increases to the police budget. We see very clearly, in these moments of loss and grief, the holes in their system of punishment. We need to stand against police murder and incarceration as the reaction to deeper problems in our community and our relations to each other. It’s unacceptable to keep losing our loved ones at this rate anymore.
We ask you, San Antonio, to allow these families time to grieve, to support them with the costs in burying their loved ones, and, when they make the call to take action- to follow through with it. No justice, no peace!