A Bexar County grand jury on Monday declined to indict Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Deputy John Rodriguez in the fatal shooting of Damian Daniels, who was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time of his death.
Without a grand jury indictment, felony criminal charges against Rodriguez cannot proceed at the state level.
About an hour after the district attorney notified media of the grand jury’s decision, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement that it would post video containing some body camera footage — with redactions and edits for privacy and legal concerns — on YouTube and its website.
Rodriguez shot Daniels, a Black Army veteran, in August 2020 after he and his partner struggled to take Daniels’ loaded gun and detain him for mental health treatment.
“The death of Mr. Daniels was tragic,” Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales stated in a news release. “This country needs to do a better job of helping those in mental health crisis. We have reviewed the video with the Daniels family and have informed them of the Grand Jury’s decision. As I have stated in the past, every officer-involved shooting in Bexar County resulting in serious injury or death will be decided by a Grand Jury.”
A memo explaining the facts and laws considered in this case will be posted on the Bexar County Civil Rights Division’s website on Tuesday, according to the news release.
Brendan Daniels, Damian’s brother, said via text Monday that his family plans to release a statement soon. “We are taking this time to reflect and work on our next move with proceeding forward with Damian’s case.”
The grand jury’s decision comes two weeks after the Daniels family and activists gathered at the Bexar County Courthouse to demand the case be heard by a grand jury and that law enforcement be removed as first responders to low-risk mental health 911 calls.
This summer, the Daniels family called for Sheriff Javier Salazar to resign for making “material misrepresentations” by releasing still images taken from the body camera footage in the days after the shooting.
While the family had seen the full recordings, neither the sheriff nor district attorney released it. This month, the Bexar County Commissioners Court approved a new policy requiring county law enforcement offices to release body camera footage within 10 days of a “critical incident,” such as a deputy shooting someone.
The roughly 27-minute video released Monday is narrated by a public information officer and includes 911 calls made to the sheriff’s office regarding Daniels and portions of the conversations deputies had with him. “The video also includes the shooting of Damian Daniels, viewer discretion is advised: the video contains graphic content and foul language,” the sheriff’s office statement said.