"...The 23-year-old man shot Tuesday by a veteran Austin Police Department sergeant has been released from the hospital – and released from police custody, according to APD...."
"...Close observers of local police data won't be surprised by the findings of the brief published last month by the Center for Policing Equity titled "The Science of Policing Equity: Measuring Fairness in the Austin Police Department." Most of the findings already appeared in March's annual report published by the Office of the Police Monitor, and in OPM reports published in the few years before that. In sum, according to data provided by APD, officers in 2015 pulled over, searched the cars of, or arrested black drivers at a rate disproportionate to that race's demographical representation within the city..."
"...The U.S. Department of Justice has made 160 recommendations to improve Austin Police Department policies and procedures, as part of the ongoing federal investigation of department practices..."
"...Dear Editor, A shout-out to the Austin Police Department: Last July, a new era began with our "rock star" police chief and his mostly positive changes to the department, like the long-awaited disciplinary matrix, tighter use-of-force policies, a dedication to open government, and improved community relations. But reform can't erase a brutal legacy. Over the past 14 years, 15 people of color have died from police bullets, 50,000-volt relentless Taser shocks or outright beatings, some coupled with chemical sprays, flashlights, batons, and one in 1998 who was then hog-tied and perhaps fed antifreeze (APD claimed he digested it to commit suicide – while he was on his way to meet a date!) for the crime of jaywalking in a predominantly white neighborhood..."
"...I believe the Office of Police Monitor gives citizens some oversight into potential police misconduct and may separate some bad apples out of an overwhelmingly good batch of police officers. I also disagree with the city of Austin's use of the police department as another tax collection entity with its zealous use of speed traps and exorbitant fines..."
"...The past six weeks have seen two sworn employees of the Austin Fire Department suspended 60 days for drinking and driving. In an odd twist, in both cases the firefighters were arrested while purchasing food at fast-food restaurants...."
"...UPDATE: In the wake of last month's police shooting death of Larry Eugene Jackson, City Manager Marc Ott said this afternoon that he has requested that the Department of Justice investigate Austin Police, to determine if their "tactics and practices" are consistent with department policies and with national best practices...."
"...Last week two Austin Police Department officers, Cpls. John Coffey and George Jackoskie, filed a grievance with their union, the Austin Police Association, arguing that the union and city have broken the police contract by paying a member to be off the beat and working on statewide union issues...."
"...According to the Austin Police Department, Buehler was arrested after he failed to heed multiple commands from patrol officers to back off from filming so close to them during an arrest. According to Buehler's attorney, Joe James Sawyer, the official version is garbage..."
"...Spelman proposed that the request be reduced to the 46 officers expected to be assigned to actual patrol work. He pointed out that based on the department's own data, the overall workload on officers had not increased sufficiently to justify all 59 hires (the original request, in the spring, had been for 126)..."
"...Watching the City Council members review the city manager's annual budget proposal is a little like speed-dating by proxy. With 20 departmental budgets to review in a few weeks, and the budget work sessions themselves confined to only a few days, heads on and off the dais start to spin, and observers could be forgiven for wondering for a moment if the current occupant of the hot seat is the director of Resource Recovery or Watershed Protection...."
"...The Austin Police Department "meets the minimum legal requirements" for the administration of live and photo lineups of criminal suspects, but "does little to ensure that its lineup procedures provide the best evidence possible in any given case," according to a new report released this morning by the non-profit The Justice Project...."
"..."The officers are looking for some sign that we've depoliticized the process and made it fair for both the officers and the community," says APA President Mike Sheffield. "And I think we've done that, balancing the need for the community to feel that the department is doing what we should be doing, while protecting the rights of officers."..."
"...Five Times At this point in a story like this -- with inquiries under way by a Travis Co. grand jury, by the department, and inevitably by Jones' Office of the Police Monitor -- it's often deemed scandalous to even report the known facts, lest they not seem "fair" to one or another side..."
"...When the news was first confirmed last year that the Austin Police Department had assigned several undercover officers (three primary, three backup) to infiltrate the Occupy Austin organization, APD officials delivered several high-minded defenses of the practice. Assistant Chief Sean Mannix (now the Cedar Park chief) explained, "It was determined plainclothes officers blending with the surroundings was necessary for the safety of the participants and the community as a whole..."
"...Although I promise myself annually that this year I'm really going to get my arms around the city budget – no doubt you made the same New Year's resolution – here it is the middle of budget season, with the departmental presentations beginning this week, and I've barely managed to skim the executive summaries. We've already danced the annual ritual two-step: 1) "We're $20 million in the hole!" – accompanied by the gnashing of teeth and the rending of garments (especially at the Daily Bat Cave), followed a few weeks later by 2) "Move along, there's nothing to see here," when perfectly predictable adjustments in the available revenue provide a balanced budget, which the City Council then tweaks in response to public hearings..."
"...These secretive raids are occurring without any coordination with the Austin Police Department or the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. One consequence of this is the fear and panic among many of our neighbors who do not pose threats to our community..."
"...UPDATE: In response to a pair of letters sent today by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, asking two city departments to investigate goings-on at the proposed Austin Aquarium, the city says a permit request to "stock" animals on site has been rejected, and a follow-up visit by Code Compliance confirms no animals are at the facility...."
"...More recently, Ross has devoted much of her energy to a spin-off Occupy group called Activate Austin, which is narrowing its focus to address sensitive subjects like racism, classism, gender discrimination, and homophobia. On the specific topic of racism, Ross says the hot-button issue of the day involves the Austin Police Department..."
"...– From the 1992 Austin Police Department investigative report of the Fran and Danny Keller child molestation case..."
"...In the biggest (but still peaceful) clash between Austin Police Department and Occupy Austin, 37 people were arrested in the small hours of this morning. Now the role of City Manager Marc Ott in setting those arrests in motion, and the decision to deploy APD forces on one of Downtown's busiest nights of the year, is likely to come under scrutiny...."
"...• Approved the purchase of body cameras and associated smartphones for Austin Police Department officers, with the intention of continuing the development of consensus policies on use and release of video material...."
"...Don't get the Downtown Rangers confused with the Texas Rangers. These citizen officers of the Austin Police Department patrol a 200-block area of Central Austin (7am-6pm, weekdays; 8am-5pm, weekends) and can be a useful source of advice if you get lost..."
"... While doing so "in no way to minimize the incident that did occur," Futrell sought to put "all the information in perspective." Citing unnamed, national news reports sensationalizing the incident, she dispelled some of the more inflammatory and racist rumors: that it had occurred as part of the evening's Juneteenth festivities (in fact, it was in an isolated parking lot), reports of 500 onlookers with none intervening (Futrell said there were only some 10 to 20 people outside, most prior to the incident, not egging on the beating), and reports of up to 20 assailants (she put the number at three to four). Mike Martinez and Sheryl Cole thanked the African-American and Latino – League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others – community groups that got ahead of the incident, working to minimize any racial tensions which might arise. Futrell promised an extensive press conference on the incident later in the day; after the jump, read the Austin Police Department Public Information Office's last update about the murder...."
"...The Austin Police Department, which held a Tuesday press conference on the matter, believes this attack is connected to the string of seven sexual assaults that occurred between December 27 and February 8, all of which occurred in the northern part of the city between the hours of 6:30am to 9pm. Though Senior Public Information Officer Destiny Winston could only speak to Sunday’s attempted assault, she did confirm that APD believes all eight assaults are linked...."
"...AC: On your new album, the track “Buffalo” features the line, “Tyler the dark-skin, arrested in Austin. Cops know who I was cause their kid said the show was awesome.” Reflecting on your arrest for inciting a riot at SXSW 2014, is that lyric an indictment of racism on the part of the Austin Police Department?..."
"...Oh, and another quick reminder: This weekend, Austin Police Department will be running a no refusal weekend, starting 9pm tonight through to 5am Sunday, June 16. Last ROT weekend, 104 people were arrested for DWI, and no-one's interested in breaking that record...."
"...The nonprofit contacted more than 1,000 police departments across Texas requesting policies and procedures for lineups; 750 departments responded, but just 88 had any written protocols for administering lineups – and among that group, the Justice Project found that the policies and procedures provided are "largely inadequate" and are "inconsistent across departments." More than 600 departments – including the Travis Co. Sheriff's Office – returned a form affirming that they have no written policies governing lineup procedures..."
"...In the annual city budget circular marathon, we can begin almost anywhere. So how about 1996? "In order to provide More Cops on the Street (such a familiar demand that we can abbreviate it: M-COTS), the [Austin] Police Department is having to gut its Community Services division..."
"...The U.S. Department of Justice has officially ended its inquiry into the use-of-force practices of the Austin Police Department, which it began in 2007, concluding that it found "no reasonable cause to believe that APD has engaged in a pattern or practice that violated the Constitution or laws of the United States," according to a May 27 letter from the department to the city's legal department...."
"...It seems as if some of the unwanted attention may result from an unclear understanding of rules governing the vehicles, compounded by drivers' bristling at the regulations – but separate efforts to further codify pedicab operations may further throw the field into disarray. The conflict is a sign of the growing pains the once innocuous industry now faces as it expands; according to the city's Transportation Department, Austin now counts some 16 separate pedicab companies, encompassing 187 vehicles...."
"...Spelman agreed with Sheffield's positive assessment of police performance, based on the results of the poll commissioned by the police union. "By and large, the police department is doing a great job..."
"...At a Tuesday, Feb. 16, press conference, APA President Kenneth Casaday called for an independent audit of the police department's officer and patrol staffing model, articulating in a statement, "Our administration has been saving dollars and it looks like it may have cost a life."..."
"...On Monday, March 29, I spoke with Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo about the status of his job interviews with the city of Dallas, his tenure as Austin Police chief, and related matters. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation...."
"...I beat the shit out of him, and he fuckin' deserved it. Swinging at me and doing all the stupid shit he was doin'." – Austin Police Department Officer Gary Griffin, addressing his supervisor immediately following Griffin's July 1, 2006, beating of Joseph Cruz at an East Seventh Street bus stop...."
"...In the backstage jockeying over the city's search for a new Austin Police Department chief, three common themes have emerged, about which nearly everyone deeply involved in the process agrees. They know whom they don't want..."
"...18. According to Chief Stan Knee, the 10 employees received punishments ranging from a written reprimand to a 15-day unpaid suspension plus a year of probation, for a handful of policy violations including "failure to maintain an impartial attitude," acts bringing discredit to the department, and inappropriate use of department computer equipment..."
"...Let me start by saying, in this space, for (by my count) the sixth time in 18 months: The Austin Police Department has a race problem. It's a problem that can't be solved without dramatic change not (or not only) on the street, but at the very top of the department and in the most rarefied echelons of City Hall..."
"...Neyens believes APD has never conducted a thorough investigation into her allegations after she filed a formal complaint in January 2002. "Staha has been given preferential treatment by the department," she told the panel..."
"...Fallout from the controversy surrounding the February fire that destroyed the Midtown Live nightclub continued last week when Austin Police Chief Stan Knee and City Manager Toby Futrell penned a request to Western District of Texas U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, asking the feds to review the APD's "policies, procedures and practices." Citing the Statesman's much (self-)touted series on police use of force and the "Burn Baby, Burn"/Midtown Live incident, Knee and Futrell told Sutton that there has been an erosion of trust "within the community." "While we believe that the police department has worked diligently to improve training and policies, an independent review of the [APD] could help the department continue to improve while rebuilding community trust," they wrote...."
"...Obviously, this case is not over; the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating, and I think we can all just plan now for a hefty financial settlement for the Owens family in a future wrongful-death suit..."
"...A public-safety-service audit presented last week to the City Council Audit and Finance Committee recommends against consolidating the city's auxiliary police services – Park Police, Airport Police, and city marshals – into Austin Police Department operations. Merging the three police services, currently housed under the city's Public Safety and Emergency Management Department, into APD would not only be costly, reads the audit, but also suggests "high likelihood" of a specialized "skill loss" within the three targeted-mission agencies and an overall "mission creep" toward the more generalized focus of APD operations...."
"...Not surprisingly, it's the police budget raising the early ruckus and even less surprisingly, it's the Statesman sounding the alarm. Last month, the daily reported that the Austin Police Department was on a pace to exceed its overtime budget for the year..."
"...Austin loves its parks, and consequently Austin loves its Parks and Recreation Department. Perhaps tough love is what's in order...."
"...However, the event’s organizer, TCDP Political Director Kristian Caballero, said that the forum had been planned for a while, in order to build on the TCDP’s recently passed resolution calling for improved accountability from the Austin Police Department...."
"...I'm trying hard not to jump to conclusions about last Friday's police shooting of an unarmed man in unclear circumstances, but it's not an easy task. The officer in question – Detective Charles Kleinert – has yet to give his official statement to department investigators (as of press time on Wednesday), although he reportedly provided a description of the incident to supervisors immediately following the shooting..."
"...More than 200 people gathered at Austin Police Department headquarters Jan. 25 to protest what they consider unconstitutional police action in shuttering a monthly North Austin gun show – an action they say infringes on Second Amendment gun rights..."
"...On Feb. 10, Knee released the entire criminal investigative report into the June 2002 shooting death of Sophia King a file the department could have released 18 months ago, but didn't, despite repeated requests from both the APA and the local NAACP and other community advocates..."