San Antonio officials said a local grassroots group has successfully gathered enough petition signatures in a push to get a slate of public safety proposals onto the city’s May 6 election ballot, including decriminalizing marijuana and abortion, and prohibiting police chokeholds and no-knock warrants.
Members of the San Antonio Justice Charter Initiative and city officials said the city clerk’s office verified 20,600 signatures out of the 38,000 signatures that petitioners gathered last fall. The city requires the verification of a minimum 20,000 for an initiative to be considered for ballot placement.
Justice Charter is pushing for the following measures:
- Eliminating enforcement of low-level marijuana offenses;
- A ban on chokeholds by San Antonio Police Department officers in any instance;
- Make permanent the SAPD's cite-and-release policy that favors citations over arrests in certain low-level misdemeanors;
- A ban on no-knock warrants except in extreme dangerous cases, such as a hostage situation;
- Prohibiting the SAPD from enforcing state abortion laws; and
- Creation of a city justice director’s office to oversee implementation of police reforms, promote police accountability and help to reduce the number of unnecessary arrests.
Justice Charter representatives said they are now focusing on language to use in a public information campaign leading up to the May 6 election, which will also include regularly scheduled mayoral and City Council races.
Justice Charter leaders also said they expect strong opposition from the likes of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, which has said the proposals if approved by voters could negatively affect policing abilities.