City fights to prevent release of accidental police shooting information
SAN ANTONIO - The City of San Antonio is fighting to prevent the release of information about an accidental shooting inside an SAPD facility. A rifle accidentally discharged leaving one person hurt early last month.
The police department is fortunate more people weren't hurt. The weapon went off in a room full of officers during roll call. Now the city is asking the attorney general's office if it can withhold information about the incident.
As we reported in early November, the rifle went off at SAPD's Academic Court facility, in a squad room where about 20 members of the street crimes unit were assembled.
A police report we obtained said Officer Jordan Ramirez "was about to change the batteries of his weapon mounted light kit on his personal rifle and his rifle discharged."
Another officer in the room heard the gunshot and "felt a burning sensation on the back of his neck".
“Metal from the round that had kind of ricocheted around and that ended up hitting him in the back of the neck," said San Antonio Police Officer’s Association President Michael Helle.
“Anybody that was around him when that went off is probably looking at the credibility of that guy whether or not they really feel safe around him to be honest with you," Helle told us in the days after the shooting.
In the report the officer said his finger was not on the trigger when the weapon fired. An internal affairs investigation was launched to uncover exactly what happened.
On November 2nd, News 4 submitted an open records request for information about all accidental weapon discharges in the past five years, along with the department policy on those shootings.
Almost a month later, the city sent a letter to the attorney general's office asking whether it could keep that information secret.
The city says those investigations include photographs of police facilities which could expose "vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure to an act of terrorism". Also, it does not want to release photos showing officers or Officer Ramirez's personnel file.
The AG's office will decide if some information must be released, and ultimately, Police Chief William McManus will determine if the officer faces any discipline.
News 4 is arguing even taking into account business holidays during November, the city waited too long taking action on our records request and asks that the information be released to the public.
We’ll let you know what the attorney general’s office decides.