SAPOA Responds to Banishment of Officer from Fogo De Chao


July 30, 2019 - San Antonio

Article By: Jonathan Guajardo - Writer, SA Sentinel

Over the weekend, an off-duty SAPD officer was given the boot from local Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo De Chao, because he was carrying his police-issued firearm. Multiple customers reported witnessing the establishment’s manager informing the officer, who was wearing his soft uniform of a badge and his police-issued gun, that he would have to leave the premises because he was in violation of their “no guns” policy. In an effort to avoid a disturbance, the officer would vacate the establishment voluntarily. The steakhouse would eventually issue an apology, acknowledging that a member of their team “made the wrong call” and that they “support, respect and appreciate everything our law enforcement does to keep each and every one of us safe, day in and day out.”

Despite the apology, the incident would generate its fair share of controversy and expose the need for increased education about Texas gun laws. The officer’s behavior is protected under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure which states, “An establishment serving the public may not prohibit or otherwise restrict a peace officer or special investigator from carrying on the establishment’s premises a weapon that the peace officer or special investigator is otherwise authorized to carry, regardless of whether the peace officer or special investigator is engaged in the actual discharge of the officer’s or investigator’s duties while carrying the weapon.”

Areas included under the TX Code of Criminal Procedure include “hotels, motels, or other places of lodging; retail businesses or other commercial establishments or an office building to which the general public is invited; sports venue; and any other places of public accommodation, amusement, convenience, or resort to which the general public or any classification of persons from the general public is regularly, normally, or customarily invited.”

Michael Helle, President of the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA), responded to the incident on Monday. “We thank the owners of Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse for acknowledging the mistake by one of their employees and for issuing a statement of support of San Antonio Police Officers,” said Helle. “While we hope this wasn’t an example of anti-police bias, at the very least this incident shows that public-serving establishments need to be better educated about state gun laws, particularly as they apply to Police Officers.”