Councilman weighs in on his say no to panhandling initiative in light of panhandler carjacking man who was giving him money

“That money that we’re handing out the window, almost always ends up in the pocket of a drug dealer,” said District 8 Councilman Manny Palaez.

SAN ANTONIO — One man is arrested after he allegedly assaulted and stole a person’s vehicle who was trying to give him money, according to San Antonio police. 

The incident took place at the 1400 block of Zarzamora on Friday night. 

One man told police he stopped his vehicle to give a panhandler some money and during the exchange was assaulted and his vehicle stolen, according to officials. 

Officers located the vehicle while the suspect was still driving it. During the pursuit, as the suspect was trying to evade, he collided into an SAPD patrol car, according to San Antonio police. 

Two officers were inside the patrol car but no injuries were reported. 

The suspect was arrested on charges of robbery, evading arrest and aggravated assault on an officer. 

Councilman Manny Pelaez says while this incident is not the norm, it does highlight that there is a safety issue with people giving money to panhandlers.

“It confirms, that this is not hyperbole. When I tell people that rolling down your window is dangerous for not just the driver, but also for the person for whom you’re rolling that window down,” said Pelaez.

On the social media site X, Police Chief William McManus posted the suspect attacked two officers before he was arrested. McManus also said in the tweet, there are safer ways to help the homeless.

Last month Pelaez put up signs in his district that say it’s ok to say no.  The sign also urges people to give donation to local charities rather than to panhandlers.

“That money that we’re handing out the window almost always ends up in the pocket of a drug dealer,” said Pelaez.

Pelaez says the response to the signs has been mostly positive, but there are some who think he doesn’t want people to give to the poor or be charitable.

“That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is, that it’s okay to not roll your window down, and it’s okay to be mindful and it’s okay to be a critical thinker, but it’s not ok to be uncharitable,” said Pelaez.

Pelaez says another councilperson has expressed interest in also putting up the signs, and other councilmembers tell him they are watching closely to see how this initiative works out.

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