A former San Antonio police officer who shot and wounded a 17-year-old as the teen flipped his car upside down while eating a hamburger has been indicted by a grand jury on two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant and attempted murder. has been indicted on one count of. murder, prosecutors said Thursday.
James Brennand, 28, was a rookie officer when he was fired and charged with two counts of aggravated assault.in the McDonald’s parking lot on October 2.
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said one of the felony charges of assault was for shooting Cantu and the other for shooting in the direction of his female passenger. He said the charge of attempt to murder pertains to the shooting at Cantu.
Aggravated assault by a public servant is punishable by life imprisonment, while attempted murder is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, Gonzales said.
“We know that the majority of this city officials care deeply about this community, but we cannot have a safe city if the community does not have trust in the criminal justice system,” Gonzales said.
Nico LaHood, one of Brennand’s lawyers, said Thursday that so far, Brennand’s side of the story hasn’t been told, adding that it’s too early to “judge.” Video of the episode from Brennand’s body worn camera has been released by police.
“We anticipate that more information will emerge that will shed more light on this incident,” LaHood said.
Cantu was released from the hospital last week, nearly two months after the shooting. In a statement after his release, his parents said that he “still has a long way to go to recover.”
The family’s attorney, Ben Crump, who has taken on some of the country’s most high-profile police killings of black people, said in a statement that the indictments were a “relief” to the family.
Crump said, “Eric and his family are grateful for the support they have received not only in Eric’s fight for survival, but also in our fight for full justice.” “Today, we are one step closer.”
Police said Brennand was responding to an unrelated disturbance at a McDonald’s when he spotted Cantu in a car they believed had escaped from him during an attempted traffic stop the day before.
Police said Brennand violated his training and police procedures when he approached the car, which he said was stolen. Although the registration plate of the car did not match with the vehicle, but according to the police the car was not stolen.
In body camera footage released by police, Brennand opens the car door and tells Cantu to get out.
About five seconds after the door was opened, the officer fired five rounds into the car. He shoots five more times as the car drives away.
Cantu’s friend, Jorge Ramos,He was shocked by the body camera video.
“It was absolutely heartbreaking,” Ramos said. “When I saw that video, it broke me.”