Former SAPD chief testifies about when an officer can use deadly force
Lawyers for the city of San Antonio and San Antonio police officer Robert Encina are expected to call four to five witnesses to the stand Tuesday in the seventh day of trial in the federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Marquise Jones.
Depending on how long the testimony lasts, it is possible the city and Encina will rest their defense, leading to closing arguments and jury deliberations. A verdict is possible Tuesday.
The lawyers said Monday afternoon they expected to call several witnesses to the stand, including Albert Ortiz, a former San Antonio police chief who reviewed evidence in the case; Chief William McManus, who has already testified; Deputy Chief Gus Guzman, who will likely talk about the San Antonio Police Department disciplinary process; and detective Randall Hines, the lead officer who investigated the officer-involved shooting.
On Monday, Ortiz began his testimony, telling the jury of four men and four women that he felt the officer-involved shooting on Feb. 28, 2014, at the Chacho’s and Chalucci’s on Perrin Beitel Road was justified.
“An officer is not required to wait until someone raises a weapon at you to use deadly force,” said Ortiz, who created SAPD’s team that investigates officer-involved shootings. “We don’t create those situations. We react to the situations that are presented to us.”
Ortiz also said it’s not uncommon for witnesses to have different accounts of a traumatic event.
“To this day, I don’t think anyone knows exactly what happened,” Ortiz said. “That’s common. If someone came in here right now and shot someone, there would be 30 different stories.”
The lawsuit, which is asking for an unspecified amount of money, claims the city and SAPD failed to properly discipline Encina for a prior incident in which he exhibited animosity toward black customers at another restaurant where Encina worked private security, and that that failure led to Jones’ death. Jones was African-American.
Jones’ family also claims there were a number of inconsistencies in the police narrative of events that detectives failed to properly investigate.
Check back throughout the day for updates from the day’s proceedings.