Austin police

Oct 19, 2017
Fox 7

Groups against 'police brutality' take a knee at Austin City Council

A group of protesters took a knee during the invocation of the Austin City Council meeting on Thursday, October 19. Criminal justice researcher and organizer Chris Harris spoke with Fox 7: "'We hope that we've been able to really clarify how take a knee is related to one thing and one thing only and that's racial inequality and police brutality in this country,' said Chris Harris with Grassroots Leadership. Harris says council should reject or make big changes to the city's contract with the Austin Police Association. 'From what we've seen of this contract this new contract that will be coming, it will not address any of the serious transparency, accountability and oversight issues that have plagued it since its beginning,' he said. 'Right now you have 48 hours as a police officer after a misconduct incident before you have to talk to an internal investigator. You have 48 hours with all the video, all the audio, all the witness statements to get your story straight. You get to talk to your union rep and to your lawyer. In that time if anyone else had that no crimes would be ever be convicted in this country it's absurd.' Harris is hoping they have support on council. Read more about Groups against 'police brutality' take a knee at Austin City Council"
Sep 15, 2017
Austin Chronicle

Activists' Hopes for Police Negotiations Hinge on Statute of Limitations

Criminal justice organizers with Grassroots Leadership are advocating for an end to the police contract negotiations, known as the meet-and-confer process, that foster a culture of impunity. "'We have met and did not confer,' said Lewis Conway of Grassroots Leadership. 'Because, at this point, that whole meet-and-confer process is useless. It's outdated. There's no fixing it. And part of that process is the Review Panel."' The Austin Chronicle article sheds light on the disparities between police rhetoric and the demands of justice advocates on this broken process.

The article also describes this video created by Grassroots staff Chris Harris showing the comments of APA President Ken Casaday on the brutal arrest of Breaion King in July 2015. "In a harshly spliced video shown during City Council's Aug. 31 meeting, Casaday is seen talking about King's arrest at a bargaining session – reminding city negotiators that two commanders looked at the case and saw 'perhaps a training issue,' but no violation of APD policy. Between his comments are clips from the dash-cam footage of King being wrestled to the ground. 'It's jarring,' said Chris Harris, the film's creator. 'But I think gets across well what we're facing with the meet-and-confer process, and why it's pointless to negotiate under current conditions.' Supporting that point, albeit unintentionally, Casaday reminded that any change to the provision would cost the city elsewhere. These are negotiations, after all." Read more about Activists' Hopes for Police Negotiations Hinge on Statute of Limitations

Sep 7, 2017
Austin Monitor

Public Safety Commission Recommends End to Juvenile Curfew

Grassroots Leadership has advocated for years to end the juvenile curfew in Austin that permits police targeting and punishment of youth of color. Following community testimonies during public forums earlier this year, the Austin Public Safety Commission has voted to recommend an end to the curfew that disproportionately targets minority communities. "APD data that shows that 17 percent of curfew tickets have been handed to black youths, who represent only 8 percent of the city population between the ages of 10 and 17. Read more about Public Safety Commission Recommends End to Juvenile Curfew"
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