San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus issued a statement via email Monday evening outlining his position on how Officer John Lee should be handled by SAPD in the wake of the fatal shooting of Antronie Scott.
“I met with Officer Lee this afternoon and determined that additional training and not disciplinary measures was the most appropriate action,” McManus wrote. “At this time, Officer Lee will remain on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation being conducted by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.”
Scott, a 36-year-old African American man with outstanding felony drug charges, was fatally shot on Feb. 4 at close range by Officer Lee, an 11-year veteran, who mistook a cellphone for a gun.
McManus’ statement, which will likely reignite community protest against Lee’s continued employment, comes almost two weeks after Lee was served notice that he faces termination for the shooting which has been added to the long, national list of incidents where a white police officer shot or abused an unarmed African American citizen.
The “additional training” would commence if Lee returns to his normal duty, according to SAPD spokesman Sgt. Jesse Salame, who did not know what kind of training Lee would receive.
Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood said earlier this month that his office’s review of the case could take months. The district attorney’s review is separate from that of SAPD’s, the latter of which is beholden to the police union’s collective bargaining agreement that, as previously reported, “affords officers substantial protections in such instances.”
“The issue of how McManus and other senior officers discipline rank and file officers who break the law or violate department rules and policies has been a subject of debate in recent meetings between McManus and community leaders who are pressing for stronger disciplinary outcomes in such cases.”
Top image: San Antonio Police Department Chief of Police William McManus speaks during a recent City Council B Session. Photo by Scott Ball.