Manley’s investigation of a series of bombings in Austin last month garnered praise from city officials and amplified calls for him to take over on a permanent basis. News of the nomination was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.
But Chris Harris, a campaigns coordinator for the criminal justice reform group Grassroots Leadership, said residents of the city’s East Side – especially people of color – saw law enforcement’s handling of the bomb investigation differently.
“It definitely starts with how Anthony House was portrayed initially,” he said, “and I think there are still questions about how that impacted the investigation.”
House died March 2 when a bomb exploded on his porch. Police initially thought his death was an isolated event and that it was possible he made the bomb himself and accidentally set it off.
Harris called it “odd” that Cronk asked for community input after naming Manley the sole finalist.
Grassroots Leadership and other groups have urged the city to take its time in appointing a new chief and to open up the vetting process to the public. Harris told KUT last month the city should seek public comment on Manley’s hire.
“If we don’t take the opportunity to get whomever will be the next chief to be on record as supporting policies that reflect the values of the community,” Harris said, “then we’ve lost an extremely valuable opportunity to ensure we improve our police force.”