The San Antonio Police Department will provide secondary support to the U.S. Secret Service as it escorts presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to a fundraiser in San Antonio on Friday, said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
“Secret Service is the lead on this, and (ours) is a support role,” McManus said during a brief press conference on Tuesday. “We are working closely with (them) and putting our plans together. We will provide traffic and crowd control.”
Trump rallies in other cities have turned violent, but McManus said that SAPD hasn’t been made aware of any specific security concerns or imminent threats. A group of activists and local community members gathered last Thursday at the Southwest Workers Union to plan a peaceful “Dump Trump” protest.
(Read more: Groups Plan Peaceful Protest to ‘Dump Trump’)
“I don’t believe that our San Antonio folks are going to mimic (what’s been) going on in other parts of the country,” he said. “That’s not what we do, that’s not what we’ve done here. I have faith in our community to…protest peacefully.”
McManus has been in touch with a protest organizer who assured him the event would remain peaceful. As with any other major event in the city, SAPD will take the necessary steps to provide safety measures for demonstrators and counter demonstrators, McManus added.
“That is their right to protest and we will facilitate that right,” he said. “We work with all groups no matter what the issue is. If there are protestors, we protect their first amendment rights.”
McManus did not confirm nor deny that Trump’s private luncheon will be at the Oak Hills Country Club, located at 5403 Fredericksburg Rd. as previously reported.
“We’re working on what information we have now,” he said. “The only information we have right now is that (the protest) will be at the site of (Trump’s) visit.”
McManus briefed SAPD officers Tuesday morning about Trump’s arrival, but the specifics of the police department’s plan aren’t entirely complete.
“We are still working on certain aspects of it,” he said, “but we are not done yet.”
Voices of opposition for Trump have continued to grow, especially among Latino and Muslim communities. Trump has famously claimed that Mexico was sending drugs, rapists, and criminals to the U.S., and he continues to stress the need for a wall on the Texas-Mexico border to keep Mexican immigrants out of the country. Most recently, Trump has been heavily criticized for calling the gunman in the Orlando shooting “an Afghan,” though the man was a U.S. citizen born in New York City, and blamed the Muslim community for not turning in “the people who they know are bad.” He also made an outrageous implication that President Barack Obama may have had something to do with the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Protesting is legal in public spaces as long as it isn’t dangerous, McManus said, and no matter the outcome, SAPD will do its best to be minimally disruptive. When asked if there would be specific “designated” zones for protestors, McManus said that SAPD still hasn’t gotten to that level of detail yet. He did not disclose the amount of officers that will work with the Secret Service during Trump’s visit, but stressed that there will be “an adequate number (of officers) to provide support services.”
Other cities around the country have been hotbeds of chaos as protestors have thrown items such as eggs and water balloons at demonstrations. Others, including Trump supporters, have resorted to more physical violence, but McManus has faith that San Antonians will not act out in the same way.
Top image: San Antonio Police Chief William McManus speaks to the media about Donald Trump’s visit on Friday. Photo by Rocio Guenther.