In the wake of one of San Antonio’s most violent weeks, there have been five San Antonio police officers shot and seriously injured in confrontations with repeat offenders. Meanwhile, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales continues making excuses and blames “the system.”
However, a careful review of his political background gives one a better understanding of his view of law and order.Gonzales took office as Bexar County District Attorney in January of 2019. He was one of twenty-four chief prosecutors funded nationwide by billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Gonzalez received about $1 million in Soros funding for his campaign and election.
Gonzales and the other chief prosecutors shared progressive views of justice which included extinguishing cash bail and reducing sentences as well as the prosecution of misdemeanors. In January of 2022, three years after Gonzales took office, research by The Capital Research Center found that violent crime increased by 15%, and convictions have dropped 17%.
Most law enforcement experts agree that the combination of the election of liberal/leftist District Attorneys, plus the Black Lives Matter movement, have created an atmosphere where law enforcement is villainized, and crime is excused and tolerated. “There's a direct correlation between spiking crime rates and the policies which they (liberal DA's) are enacting", says Parker Thayer of the Capital Research Center.
Gonzales believes more in protecting criminals from police than in protecting law abiding citizens from criminals. In 2020, in response to the George Floyd riots with Black Lives Matter supporters demanding the defunding of police departments, Gonzales created a Civil Rights Division. He said he wanted to have more accountability and transparency in policing, however, it has had a chilling effect on police work because police officers feel they have a target on their backs.
For example, on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, KABB reported on a survey of over 1000 SAPD officers that showed they are working in a hostile work environment that affects them personally and the public’s safety. The biggest concern is the fear of discipline and losing their job over a life/death/danger decision.
Police officers are constantly “second-guessed” by SAPD leaders, politicians, community leaders, and the news media for making a life-death decision in the blink of an eye. It is easy to be a “Monday morning quarterback” when your life is not in immediate danger, and you have a lot of time to think.
Another problem Gonzales has created is a staff shortage. In December 2022, KSAT news reported that 16 people had resigned from his office, including a lead prosecutor.
Gonzales made the excuse that retaining attorneys was difficult due to low salaries compared to other counties, but insiders said the attorneys did not like his soft-on-crime approach. His support of “social justice” rather than plain justice and prosecution of crime is the problem. Prosecutors want to prosecute, not engage in social engineering.
Although Gonzales says he is following the law he swore to uphold, on April 12, 2022, he showed how he would “pickand choose”which cases to prosecute.On that date he said he would not prosecute anyone over the state’s recently passed abortion law. He is playing politics and manipulating “the system".
Gonzales may soon feel the heat thanks to the passage of Texas House Bill 17, the “Rogue D.A. Law”that allows the courts to remove district attorneys forrefusing or failing to prosecute entire categories of offenses.Anyone who has lived in the county for at least six months can file a removal petition if they believe the district attorney is not prosecuting all appropriate crimes.
Gonzales argues that the system is at fault for repeat offenders and rising crime. However, all previous District Attorneys have had to work within the same system, and there has never been as big a problem with repeat offenders as there is today. He may not want to admit it, but he is playing politics with the law.
On June 15, 2020, Gonzales announced he would “tighten his scrutiny” on police officers. Isn’t it time he did that with criminals instead?
Gonzales’s tenure as the chief prosecutor for San Antonio and Bexar County has been disastrous. Instead of protecting citizens, he has endangered law-abiding citizens. It is time for him to resign and be replaced by a “pro-law & order” District Attorney, someone who will prosecute all crimes.