SAN ANTONIO - An SAPD smuggling investigation has caused a firestorm of controversy.
On Tuesday, the president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association called for SAPD Chief William McManus to be investigated. Meanwhile, the lawyer of the people found in the truck says that SAPD handled the case well.
On December 23, 12 people were found inside a truck near Splashtown. According to the police report, the people told authorities that they were from Guatemala. After being detained, the driver of the truck admitted that he picked the people up from a warehouse in Laredo.
Now, 58-year-old Herbert Nichols of Houston is in custody being charged with human smuggling.
SAPD Chief William McManus was at the scene and decided not to hand the case over to federal authorities.
"We handle them at the highest level of criminality," said Michael Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association. "In these type of cases, you always prosecute at the highest level of offense."
Helle is calling for McManus to be placed on administrative leave pending an independent investigation.
Jonathan Ryan is an immigration attorney and executive director of RAICES. He was called by the city to the scene in December. He is now representing the 12 people found inside the truck.
"These are simple, humble people, most of them very young people who just left their hometowns for the first time, perhaps weeks before this event," Ryan said. "These are traumatized individuals."
He says his clients are still in the United States and are cooperating with authorities.
SAPD says that while they interviewed the people found in the truck, they did not do background checks or take fingerprints because it is against procedure to investigate witnesses or victims of a crime.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley says that she fully supports the chief's handling of this case and has no intention of placing him on administrative leave.
© 2018 KENS-TV