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Meeting with Bexar County DA disappoints Black justice advocates

A conversation with Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales did not yield the results activists hoped. In fact, they left his office infuriated.

SAN ANTONIO — Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales’ office did not respond to requests for a statement about a meeting with Black justice activists Thursday. But the advocates had lots to say about the DA. None of it flattering.

“I was outraged, and I was disappointed,” Kimiya Factory said. “ I understand why the families are upset. And, more importantly, I understand why these cases probably ended up the way they did.”

Factory is the president of the Black Freedom Factory. The group is pressuring the District Attorney to reopen three San Antonio police officer-involved shootings where Black men were killed.

On previous occasions, Gonzales said if there is new evidence or information that would compel an indictment, he would present it to the grand jury.

In Feb 2014, Marquise Jones was shot running away from an accident scene in restaurant drive-thru on San Antonio’s northeast side. Officer Robert Encina said Jones turned as he fled from the scene with a gun. Jones was fatally wounded in his back.

A Bexar County grand jury cleared him of any criminal liability. A federal jury sided with the officer and the city of San Antonio in a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jones’ family.

Antronie Scott was killed in a traffic stop in Feb 2016. San Antonio police said undercover officers were going to execute a drug and weapons warrant on the 36-year-old. According to police, patrol officer John Lee thought Scott’s cell phone was a gun and shot him.

The DA’s office did not respond to inquiries about whether a grand jury cleared Lee. SAPD said Lee ‘separated’ from the department in Feb 2020. The department did not explain his exit.

Chief William McManus issued a contemplated indefinite suspension a month after the shooting. McManus lifted the suspension in place of additional training for Lee.

Officer Steve Casanova was cleared by a grand jury last summer in the shooting death of  Charles ‘Chop’ Roundtree Jr. Police said the officer was shooting at acquitted weapon suspect Davante Snowden when he killed Roundtree. The 18-year-old was unarmed and sitting in a chair.

Factory said the meeting inspired her to keep fighting for the Jones, Roundtree, and Scott families.

“We walked away with the sentiment that we have to keep fighting and that we have to fight harder,” She said. “Today did not quell any reservations that I had about this case. It only validated them.”

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