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James Brennand, 25, was charged in the October 2 shooting of a 17-year-old sitting in his car at a McDonald’s. He turned himself in to police on Tuesday night and remained in custody, said the police chief, William McManus.
Brennand, the now-former San Antonio police officer, was charged on Tuesday with two counts of aggravated assault by a peace officer for shooting and gravely wounding a teen eating a hamburger. The viral video shows the teen had begun driving away when the officer opened fire.
San Antonio PD condemn ex-officer’s actions
“It was unjustified both administratively and criminally,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said at a news conference Tuesday announcing the charges.
“We have a policy that prohibits officers from shooting at vehicles, moving vehicles, except if their life is in immediate — their life or someone else’s life — is in immediate danger,” McManus said in an interview with CNN earlier Tuesday.
The initial charges against Cantu for aggravated assault and evading arrest have since been dropped.
The family of Cantu
His family reports the shooting victim is “still unconscious and is on life support.”
“There is no improvement in his condition,” the family said in a statement delivered by their lawyer, Brian Powers. “The last two days have been difficult, and we expect more difficulty ahead, but we remain hopeful.”
As the family watches over their loved one, cases of police brutality have become so regular that most cities have adjusted their budgets for cases such as this to arise.
Police brutality is costly to all
According to Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago taxpayers shelled out $250 million in settlements and judgments arising out of legal claims against the Chicago Police Department and its officers in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
New York City has paid out more than $67 million in settlement payouts for lawsuits alleging police misconduct so far this year, according to a new analysis by the Legal Aid Society, shelling out in seven months the same amount they have paid for entire calendar years in the recent past, according to Brooklyn Paper.
Even in the land of paradise, The City and County of Honolulu has spent more than $18 million to settle police-related lawsuits and claims alleging misconduct over the past decade.
A New Jersey county recently agreed to pay a $10 million settlement to a Black man who was left paralyzed after an encounter with police eight years ago, according to CNN.
With tangible reforms to American police forces, cities would save money, families wouldn’t be splintered, and a trust between community and police could be woven with time.
In cases of police brutality, the families are often left with nothing more than a negotiated settlement, however, infrastructural, foundational change is needed to reform America’s police departments so that officers like James Brennard never make it to the force in the first place.