I ordered a bullet on the side

Editorial Board

On Oct. 2, 2022, Officer James Brennand of the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) shot and wounded 17-year-old Erik Cantu in a McDonald’s parking lot. Cantu was in the lot eating when Officer Brennand approached his vehicle. 

Released body-cam footage shows Brennand approaching Cantu’s car, then opening the door and saying, “Get out of the car.” This led to Cantu putting his vehicle in reverse and fleeing with the door ajar. Brennand reached for his firearm and opened fire on the teen’s vehicle. Brennand mistakenly believed that Cantu’s vehicle had evaded police the day prior. After being struck by a hail of gunfire, Cantu was left in critical condition.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Cantu had been charged with evading detention in a vehicle and assaulting an officer, both of which were later dropped by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office (DA’s Office). According to SAPD, after charges were dropped and an internal investigation had begun, Brennand was fired for violating the district’s tactics, training and procedures. With Cantu’s charges dropped and Brennand being removed from duty, has enough action been taken?

The DA’s Office needs to press charges against Officer Brennand. Far too often, police escape accountability in regard to brutality and abuse of power. In 2014, Daniel Pantaleo of the New York City Police Department killed Eric Garner after putting him in a chokehold while arresting him for a non-violent offense. Though Pantaleo was eventually removed from duty, prosecutors never brought criminal charges against him.

Officers such as Pantaleo and Brennand displayed gross abuse of their power while receiving the equivalent of a slap on the wrist. Qualified immunity blocking victims from seeking civil suits against officers, as well as prosecutors failing to bring criminal charges, often results in protest and civil unrest. With the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 over the death of George Floyd, it took months before prosecutors brought criminal charges against the officers responsible. 

If Officer Brennand is not held responsible in a court of law, we must make our voices heard by the DA’s Office. Oftentimes, action is not taken until we the people make noise. To contact the Bexar County DA’s Office concerning this incident, please refer to https://www.bexar.org/FormCenter/District-Attorney-Forms-13/Contact-Form-190.