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DHS Report Contradicts Chief’s Statements on Human Smuggling Case
Already under investigation by the Attorney General, DHS report raises more questions about Chief’s actions in 2017 human smuggling case.
(San Antonio, TX, June 15, 2018) – A U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Investigative Report states that Chief McManus ignored a federal agent’s request for involvement in a December 2017 human smuggling investigation. The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) report shows that on December 23, 2017, the on-duty HSI Agent received notification from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that SAPD had encountered 12 suspected undocumented aliens in the rear of a tractor-trailer. After speaking by phone with an SAPD officer on scene, the HSI Agent made preparations to have the 12 suspects transported to the HSI Office. While en route to the scene, the HSI Agent was informed by SAPD that the suspects would be taken to SAPD HQ. The HSI Agent requested that the suspects be instead transported to the HSI Office and the on-scene SAPD Officer agreed. Upon arriving on-scene, the HSI Agent was advised that Chief McManus wanted to speak with him in private. The Chief informed the HSI Agent that SAPD would be taking the case under the state smuggling statute. The HSI Agent offered to help with the investigation but was told “No” by the Chief because he did not want the HSI Agents appearance and badge to “scare people.”
The HSI Agent then departed the scene and returned to SAPD HQ to await the suspects. After their arrival, the HSI Agent offered to help interview the suspects as SAPD only had one detective on duty that could speak Spanish. His request to assist was ignored. At this point, an HSI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge called the agent and said that if SAPD did not require any assistance from him that he should depart. When the HSI Agent told an SAPD sergeant that he should contact ICE to have the suspects transported to the HSI Office to interview them and determine their immigration status, the sergeant showed the agent a text that was allegedly from Chief McManus ordering him to release all of them. (“Report states federal agent’s offer to help during smuggling investigation was ignored,” FoxSanAntonio.com, 06/12/18). The report concludes that the SAPD Officer told the HSI Agent that he had no choice but to follow the Chief’s orders. At approximately 4:30 p.m. the Officer contacted the HSI Agent to advise him that the suspects “were in fact released from SAPD custody and did not elaborate on their whereabouts.”
This DHS report directly contradicts the Chief’s public statements in January, in which he said federal agents could have arrested the immigrants after detectives finished their investigation and “the HSI agent was present at SAPD headquarters and was provided access to the 12 individuals. At no time did SAPD restrict or prevent the HSI agent from taking custody of the individuals.” This is not true according to the report, which clearly states the HSI Agent was not allowed access to the suspects. In a statement ICE said, “HSI did offer up its assistance and San Antonio Police Department declined to take our assistance, instead the chief elected to take the case.” (“Deadly smuggling case changed police policy,” Express-News, 06/12/18.)
“This is a damning report from Homeland Security,” said Mike Helle, president of SAPOA, “It shows that the Chief broke with standard procedure by denying DHS their investigatory role and then released the suspects into our city instead of turning them over to Homeland Security Investigations as is proper.”
Based on this report, SAPOA believes Chief McManus lied when he said, “at no time did SAPD restrict or prevent the HSI agent from taking custody of the individuals,” and we reiterate our demand that Chief McManus be placed on temporary leave or be reassigned as per SAPD policy (SAPD General Manual, Procedure 908 – Mandatory Reassignment).
View DHS Report[/ABs_button]
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