These San Antonio cops want to "Make America Great Again" with Donald Trump
One of the many Donald Trump-related uproars this week stemmed from a video the campaign posted to Twitter after the GOP presidential candidate's fundraising swing through San Antonio on Tuesday. The video showed about a dozen local cops gripping and grinning with Trump and wearing his signature "Make America Great Again" ball caps, all just days after Trump's "grab them by the pussy" comments about women went viral and caused a profound rift in his party.
While Mayor Ivy Taylor said she was "disappointed" by the officers' lack of judgment, local police union chief Mike Helle wrote it off as officers who simply got "caught up in the moment."
Police Chief William McManus, however, vowed to discipline the officers for violating city rules that bar employees from participating in political activity while on the job.
On Friday, we learned that "discipline" includes written reprimands for six of the cops involved and "written counseling" for 17 other officers. McManus sent out this statement Friday afternoon:
The San Antonio Police Department is dedicated to the citizens that we serve. Our mission is to treat all people with integrity, compassion, fairness and respect. The recent actions by the officers assigned to the escort detail for the presidential candidate are inconsistent with our guiding principles.
I have met personally with the involved officers and the following corrective action will be taken; six supervisors will be issued a written reprimand, and seventeen officers will be provided written counseling. In addition, as part of the corrective action, the officers involved will receive training this month that will focus on the importance of impartiality and fairness in performance of official duties.
As Chief of Police, I understand the concerns over this incident. Beyond violating Departmental and City policy, the officers used poor judgment. San Antonio Police Officers have always and will always remain dedicated to professionally serving all citizens. We will continue to work tirelessly to remain a national model for police agencies across the country.
After the video surfaced late Tuesday, many questioned why local officers would appear in what San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia called "essentially a political ad" for Trump, even while top officials in Trump's own party won't go near him because of recently-leaked audio of the GOP presidential candidate openly musing about sexually assaulting women. Local Black Lives Matter activists said the video only undermines efforts by Taylor to ease relations between police and communities of color.
Perhaps most importantly, local advocates worried the video might make local victims and survivors of sexual assault even less likely to report it to cops with a demonstrated tolerance for Trump-style rhetoric about women. Here's how local advocate Patricia Castillo with the PEACE Initiative put it: