Press Releases

For general information about Grassroots Leadership, its programs, mission and goals, please contact Bob Libal, Executive Director, mobile: 512-971-0487

Coalition: The only candidate for Austin’s police chief still has questions to answer

May 17, 2018

At a community forum on Thursday, community members will demand answers on how #OurNextChief will reduce arrests and keep Austin out of the deportation business

WHAT: Community Forum to Question Interim Austin Police Chief

WHO: Members of the community and local civil, labor, and immigrants rights organizations

WHEN: Members will gather, Thursday, May 17, at 6 p.m. (forum starts at 7)

WHERE: KLRU Studio, 2504 Whitis Ave. B, Austin 78712

AUSTIN — Local civil rights, labor rights, and immigrant rights organizations are demanding answers from the sole candidate for Austin police chief before he is hired. And they plan on showing up to interview the potential police chief themselves.

On April 30, 2018, new Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk announced that interim Police Chief Brian Manley was the sole finalist to permanently take the position pending a one-month community engagement process.

Grassroots Leadership, United We Dream, and Workers Defense Project say that, at minimum, Manley must make it clear where he stands on the most important policing issues facing the Austin community. These critical issues include reducing arrests and keeping residents safe from deportation.

“Interim Police Chief Manley must commit to a plan to reduce the number of arrests for low-level offenses that could otherwise result in citation,” said Holly Kirby, criminal justice programs director at Grassroots Leadership. “This is already in line with current state law and there is much more that our progressive city can do.”

“As Texas families feel the effects of SB 4, we are asking local officials to take actions to defend their communities,” said Jose P. Garza, executive director of Workers Defense Project. “Austin’s next police chief should commit local solutions that keep people out of jail for minor offenses and ensure public safety for all.

“As extremist politicians in Texas put lives at risk in order to spread their poisonous anti-brown and anti-Black agendas, law enforcement and elected officials must be held accountable to the communities they serve,” said Julieta Garibay, co-founder and Texas Director with United We Dream. “Austin Police Department should not play into the arrest to deportation pipeline that Abbott and Trump have created to criminalize, incarcerate and deport immigrants. We call on the APD to commit to informing people of their rights. Local officials are at the front lines of the attacks on immigrants across the country. It is time for bold leadership to protect immigrants in Texas and those who do not act are complicit. When we are under attack, we rise up and fight back, because we are here to stay.”

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Grassroots Leadership is an Austin, Texas-based national organization that works for a more just society where prison profiteering, mass incarceration, deportation and criminalization are things of the past. Learn more about our work at www.grassrootsleadership.org.

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful network made up of over 400,000 members and 48 affiliate organizations across 26 states who organize and advocate at the local and national levels for the dignity and justice of immigrants and communities of color in the United States. You can find more about UWD online at www.unitedwedream.org.

Workers Defense Project is a statewide membership organization established in 2002 whose mission is to win better working conditions for Texans. For updates follow us @WorkersDefense.

Contact: 

Cristina Parker, cparker@grassrootsleadership.org, 512-499-8111

Chris Valdez, chris@unitedwedream.org, 713-352-8197

Sam Robles, sam@workersdefense.org, 512-466-9258