Former San Antonio officer James Brennand indicted for shooting teen


A former San Antonio police officer has been indicted after he shot an unarmed teenager who was eating in his car in a McDonald’s parking lot in October, prosecutors said this week.

James Brennand faces one count of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault of a public servant after body camera video was shown of him shooting 17-year-old Erik Cantu, prosecutors announced Thursday at a news conference.

Cantu was taken to a hospital in “critical but stable condition,” police said at the time. His family announced that he had been released from the hospital last week, according to San Antonio-based station KSAT.

“The video of the shooting is being seen all over the country,” Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales (D) said at the news conference. “The damage caused by an incident like this hurts our community.”

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The Washington Post could not immediately reach Brennand on Friday.

Brennand’s attorney Nicholas Lahood told CNN that the public judged his client “without the benefit of knowing his side of the story.” Lahood was not present respond to The Post’s request for comment on Friday.

“We expect more information to be revealed that will reveal more about this incident,” Lahood told CNN.

A former officer is in charge of Texas police who shot an unarmed teenager eating a hamburger

If convicted, Brennan could face up to 20 years for the attempted murder charge. Each aggravated assault charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 99 years.

On the night of Oct. 2, while Brennand was investigating a report of an unrelated disturbance at the fast-food restaurant, the officer — who was fired less than a week after the shooting — saw a car he said had fled the night. before. He called for backup because he suspected the car was stolen, police said.

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Brennand suddenly opened the driver’s door and ordered Cantu to get out, body camera footage released by police showed. A moment later, Cantu the car reverses, with the door still open, hitting Brennand with it. The officer stepped back and fired five times. He shot the car five more times as he drove away. Cantu was hit “multiple times”, police said.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus called the shooting “unjustified.” Gonzales, the district attorney, dismissed police charges against Cantu. Brennand turned himself in to the police days later, and was arrested.

At least two other former San Antonio police officers have been indicted this year for alleged use of excessive force. In February, a grand jury indicted former officer Oscar Cruz Jr. for firing two shots at teenagers running away while responding to two calls about teenagers pulling on door handles, KSAT reported. He was charged with deadly conduct, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

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Michael Brewer, another former officer, was indicted after kneeling on a man’s head and neck, KSAT reported. He was charged with unlawful restraint, the Express-News reported.

Both incidents were recorded by the officers’ body cameras.

This week’s indictment is a relief to Cantu and his family, attorney Ben Crump said in a statement shared with The Post.

“The grand jury’s decision to indict on one count of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault is a significant step toward justice – but we still have a long way to go,” Crump said. “We will continue to fight for accountability and transparency through the legal process.”

Rachel Pannett contributed to this report.


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