Posted on November 30, 2018

Texas AG Files Sanctuary City Lawsuit Against San Antonio Police Chief

Bob Price, Breitbart, November 30, 2018

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the City of San Antonio, the municipal police chief, and other officials for alleged violations of the sanctuary city law commonly known as “SB4.” The lawsuit stems from a December 2017 incident where the San Antonio police chief released a group of illegal immigrants found in the back of a tractor-trailer before proper officials could screen them.

AG Paxton filed the lawsuit against the City of San Antonio, the San Antonio Police Department, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, and City Manager Sheryl Sculley on Friday. {snip} The State also seeks civil penalties against the City, the police department, and Chief McManus.

“San Antonio Police Chief William McManus refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities who were alerted by one of his officers (about the suspected illegal aliens found in a tractor-trailer on December 23, 2017), and instead ordered the 12 suspected illegal aliens released from custody, in violation of Senate Bill 4.”

“Senate Bill 4 guarantees cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement to protect Texans,” AG Paxton said on Friday. “Unfortunately, some municipalities, such as San Antonio, put the safety of police officers and the public at risk by defying state law. {snip} ”

A spokesman for the OAG told Breitbart News this is believed to be the first enforcement action taken under the SB4 legislation.

The lawsuit alleges that Chief McManus skirted normal San Antonio Police Department protocol by “arranging for immigration attorneys from an activist group to provide the suspected aliens with legal advice and to act as a translator,” OAG officials stated. “The police chief called a private entity to take the aliens away from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. McManus and his subordinates never checked the criminal history of the suspected aliens, nor did they contact Texas Child Protective Services to investigate the safety of a minor who was being smuggled.”

Chief McManus told reporters during a January 2018 press conference that he released 12 alleged illegal immigrants found in a tractor-trailer on December 23, 2017. He did so without allowing the federal government to properly vet them for criminal or immigration records, Breitbart News reported at the time. He also made the decision to charge the driver under Texas human smuggling statutes, despite releasing the purported witnesses to the alleged crime.

“Once the folks got here to police headquarters we have no jurisdiction to hold them, to detain them, so they were released to Catholic Charities and what Catholic Charities did with them I don’t know,” Chief McManus told reporters.


Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood took exception to the chief’s claim that he did not have jurisdiction to hold the migrants. The DA told Breitbart Texas during a January interview that the chief did have the authority and jurisdiction to hold the migrants in an interview Friday. When asked if the chief had the authority to hold the migrants for up to 48 hours as material witnesses, LaHood “absolutely” agreed. “Material witnesses may be held to make sure they are properly identified.” He said they can also be held while police investigators question them as witnesses and obtain statements and other evidence.

The DA also confirmed that McManus’ decision to try the case under state jurisdiction is highly unusual.


“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.