Fired from San Antonio police officer who shot 17-year-old Erik Cantu on bail after his arrest for aggravated assault – Houston Public Media
Now fired San Antonio Police Department officer James Brennand was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault for shooting 17-year-old Erik Cantu while on duty Oct. 2. The charges and arrest came hours after a protest outside SAPD headquarters demanding Brennand’s arrest.
The protesters, organized by ACT 4 SA and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, stood outside SAPD headquarters and demanded that Brennand be charged with attempted murder, often chanting ‘no justice, no peace, no racist police”.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the charges could be increased to homicide if Cantu, who is currently on life support according to his family, were to die.
Brennand, who reportedly turned himself in to police, is on bond after posting $200,000 bond. A pretrial hearing is set for Nov. 23, according to Bexar County Jail records.
If convicted, Brennand faces a minimum of five years in prison and could face a maximum of 99 years in prison.
According to a statement from Cantu’s family on Thursday, released by his attorney Brian Powers, Cantu is still on life support.
“He is currently battling a high fever and remains on mechanical ventilation,” the statement read.
His parents also thanked their son’s supporters in the statement.
“We are grateful for your support, love and prayers,” the statement read. “Erik feels your presence. Please keep believing and hoping that our boy will open his eyes soon.
Ananda Tomas, executive director of ACT 4 SA and one of the protest organizers, said at the protest before formal charges were brought against Brennand that it was community pressure that caused McManus to saying earlier today that charges would likely be laid.
“The only reason we’ve seen this response from Chief McManus, that charges need to be laid, is because of all of this here,” Tomas said, referring to the protesters around her.
At a Tuesday night press conference, McManus said his department had brought charges against Brennand because the shooting was “wrongful, both administratively and criminally.”
Tomas also said that getting justice didn’t stop with Brennand’s arrest.
“It’s not just the SAPD who press charges. It’s the prosecutor who makes sure that it goes to the grand jury, and that when indicted, the prosecutor doesn’t drop those charges,” Tomas said. .
From body camera footage released by SAPD after the shooting, ex-officer Brennand can be seen approaching Cantu’s vehicle in a McDonald’s parking lot on Blanco Road as he tells a dispatcher he recognizes the vehicle like the one that fled it the day before during a traffic stop. .
Brennand is heard asking for help before approaching the vehicle, opening the door and telling Cantu to get out of the car.
Cantu, eating a burger with a 17-year-old woman in the passenger seat, asks why before putting the car in reverse and driving away with the car door open, which hits the officer. Brennand is pushed back through the door before backing out of its reach, pulling out his service weapon and shooting Cantu about five times as the door closes.
Brennand then says “shots fired” to the dispatcher as Cantu puts the car in gear and walks away from the officer, and continues to fire at the vehicle approximately five more times as he drives away.
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