Jan 26, 2018

Lawmakers respond to misleading ICE reports on raid numbers

"Cristina Parker, the communications coordinator for Grassroots Leadership, an Austin-based immigrants rights advocacy group, said they've long-believed the reported total of 51 arrests was inaccurate. 

'It's one of the reasons we've told our sheriff, Sally Hernandez, we've told our City Council and Interim Police Chief Manley that they should not work with ICE. They cannot be trusted to even give accurate information at a basic level,' Parker said." [node:read-more:link]

Jan 18, 2018
Austin Monitor

APD makes final push to get body cameras on all patrol officers

"Chris Harris, a data analyst with Grassroots Leadership, told members of the city’s Public Safety Commission earlier this month that the public accountability the cameras can provide is limited.

'These actually are a conduit for pushing out the police perspective of a particular incident,' he said. 'They’re worn on the police officer, they are the police’s eyes and ears in a particular situation. In that respect, they already are geared toward the officer perspective.'" [node:read-more:link]

Jan 9, 2018
Austin American-Statesman

Activists calling for improvements to Austin police’s body camera policies

"In its first meeting of 2018, Austin’s Public Safety Commission on Monday discussed opportunities to improve the Police Department’s body-worn camera policy. Austin police began rolling out body-worn cameras to patrol officers in three stations throughout the city in October. By the end of 2017, officers stationed in east, south and central Austin had been outfitted with the devices.

[...] Chris Harris, of the local organization Grassroots Leadership, told the commission that it is important to consider who the body-worn camera policy really works for, and said that in its current form, it is stacked in favor of police." [node:read-more:link]

Dec 14, 2017
Austin American-Statesman

Austin council votes to send police contract back to negotiating table

'"We have to have something different in place in this town. The time is now,' local activist Chris Harris said. 'This is only once every five years. If we don’t do it now, many of you won’t have another opportunity. So this is your chance, and I really implore you to take it.'

Harris called on the council to recognize that those who spoke against the contract included not just criminal justice advocates, but people who work in public health, mental health, academia, environmental issues and more who came to the council with the message: 'We must vote down this contract. We must begin to rethink public safety in this town in a new way,' he said." [node:read-more:link]

Dec 13, 2017

Big crowd expected as Austin city council debates APD contract

"Austin police could find out as early as Wednesday if they will have a new contract to work under. A big crowd is expected at City Hall in the afternoon — to call on city council to scrap the entire contract all together.

More than 15 activist groups are asking council to not vote on this deal and rethink it.

'So we want to invest more in the root causes of public safety and that includes things like  mental health services, treatment centers, counseling, youth programs, all up and down the chain and right now we feel we are over allocating to the police,' says Chris Harris, campaign coordinator with Grassroots Leadership." [node:read-more:link]

Dec 6, 2017
News 4 San Antonio

Group caravans to San Antonio to support asylum seeker facing deportation

"A group of immigration supporters are on their way home after trying to stop the deportation of a man seeking asylum.

They came to San Antonio on Wednesday to plead his case.

Around a couple dozen supporters braved the cold and the rain to voice their support for Alirio Gamez.

'As a community we should get to decide who is a part of our communities,' said Claudia Munoz, a supporter who traveled from Austin to San Antonio. 'That's the message we're bringing to ICE.'" [node:read-more:link]


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