Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales responded to San Antonio Police Chief McManus’ comment that the latest suspect shot by police “should have been in jail.”
McManus has expressed frustration publicly with the DA’s Office after five shootings involving San Antonio officers in 12 days. In those incidents, six officers were wounded and three suspects, some of whom McManus labeled as “violent offenders” wanted on warrants, were shot.
DA Joe Gonzales full statement:
“The Texas Constitution gives all Texans charged with a crime a constitutional right to bail except under limited circumstances.
“Hard evidence is required to convict a person of a crime. Evidence is gathered either at a crime scene or through subsequent investigation by a law enforcement agency. Witnesses are interviewed, statements taken, and photos taken. Documentation of the crime and crime scene are crucial to a successful prosecution and conviction.
“Several cases in this offender’s criminal history were dismissed because no such evidence was provided to the District Attorney’s office by SAPD. This office, which has an obligation to seek justice, cannot prosecute cases against defendants for which there is insufficient evidence.
“Prior to the dismissal of these cases, the lack of evidence was specifically brought to the attention of the San Antonio Police Department. In fact, this office requested that it be provided with the results of the investigation and the evidence required to prosecute on several occasions. Our prosecutors proactively engaged with SAPD in an attempt to remedy the incomplete filings.
“The individual involved in last night’s shooting was on parole, not bond, at the time of the shooting. Our office prosecuted him and obtained a prison sentence for the offense of evading arrest with a vehicle on November 30, 2022. He was released from the Texas Department of Corrections on May 15, 2023. The decision to release him from prison was made by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
“Prior to last night, the offender did have a previous criminal history – but not a criminal history sufficient to hold him without bond.
“We prioritize public safety and the safety of all our first responders. Our office is committed to pursuing justice – but we cannot proceed without evidence. In fact, prosecuting a defendant without having evidence is not only a violation of our oath, but it also potentially subjects to the city, county, and the individual law enforcement personnel to liability for wrongful prosecution.”