Amid the coronavirus pandemic and peaceful Black Lives Matter protests, the Bexar Facts/KSAT/Rivard Report poll revealed a voting community united in its support for police reform – with a majority saying the police union is a barrier to meaningful change.
Respondents were less united, however, on the topic of how to handle the coronavirus pandemic. The poll revealed divisions along political and socioeconomic lines regarding Bexar County’s response to the crisis.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., KSAT will host three panels Tuesday night to discuss the results and possible paths forward with community leaders, the mayor, and law enforcement officials. Watch it live and scroll down for an overview of the schedule and panelists.
6:30 – 7 p.m.
Rivard Report Managing Editor Graham Watson-Ringo will speak with Demonte Alexander and Liza Barratachea of Bexar Facts.
7 – 7:30 p.m.
A conversation with Gregory Hudspeth, president of the local NAACP; Kimiya Factory, a Black Lives Matter activist who helped organize protests after George Floyd’s death; and Aaronetta Pierce, arts advocate and civic leader who chaired the first MLK Jr. Commission when the City held its first MLK march.
7:30 – 8 p.m.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, and Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales will discuss the state of local policing and how it could be improved.
Here’s more about the new poll:
Sixty-eight percent agreed that the police union has been a barrier to holding local police officers accountable for misconduct, 97 percent want police officers to undergo regular de-escalation training to help them prevent violent conflicts, and 96 percent want officers’ body cams to be on at all times when interacting with the public. At the same time, 82 percent said they felt safer when they see police officers in their neighborhood, and 77 percent approved of the job San Antonio Police Chief William McManus was doing.
While 77 percent believed local protests against police brutality have been peaceful and lawful, 70 percent believe “out-of-state extremists” have been influencing local protests.
Fifty-two percent of the 616 respondents who identified as Republican maintained “the worst is over” regarding the impact of the coronavirus locally, and 61 percent said continued social distancing and business closures will cause unnecessary damage to the economy and residents’ lives. Only 14 percent of respondents who identified as Democrats thought the worst was over and 16 percent thought social distancing and business closures would cause unnecessary damage.