Diaz leaves police panel
"Apparently, and I don't know who, but there were people who believe that because I represent a man I believe is innocent, Michael Scott, that I can't be an impartial member of the panel," Diaz said. "I felt that rather than create a situation where there would be distress from the get-go, that I'd go ahead and resign." City officials say they have tried to make the panel as neutral as possible. Still, Diaz said he was somewhat surprised by all the hoo-hah ascribed to his appointment. "I feel I was a good choice. In fact, I've represented a number of police officers in the past who've been accused of wrongdoing," he said. "If people really think this is going to prejudice the process I'd better just step down. I want this [panel] to start off on the right foot. I want this thing to work."
In other civilian panel news, City Manager Jesus Garza has yet to appoint a police monitor -- a new position that involves oversight of and cooperation with the civilian panel. Garza named two finalists for the job last month, former Austin City Attorney Iris Jones and current Dallas Assistant City Attorney Chris Wittmayer. Garza originally said that he hoped to name the new monitor before Christmas. "It just hasn't happened yet," said Vanessa Downey-Little, the city's assistant director of human resources, who added that the decision could be made within the next couple of weeks.