Naked City

Meeting the Monitor

Austin Police Monitor Iris Jones began a series of introductory community meetings June 25, with the first held at the new St. John's Community Center. A couple dozen citizens heard Jones introduce her seven-person staff and describe the functions and procedures of the new office, created under an agreement between the City of Austin and the APD. Since beginning work earlier this year, Jones said, the office has received 62 citizen complaints, ranging from "rudeness and unresponsiveness" by police officers to "physical injury," including allegations of unwarranted pepper-spraying. The office is reviewing these complaints for possible counsel to the APD for action.

Jones also volunteered that she had yet to receive any complaints regarding the June 11 shooting of Sophia King at East Austin's Rosewood projects. However, the monitor's office (which cannot initiate its own investigations of possible police misconduct) is automatically kept apprised of the investigation of any incident involving a police shooting, and Jones said she will be monitoring the entire investigation, including APD's ongoing internal affairs review.

During Jones' presentation, King's aunt Alice Pickens arrived at the meeting and asked for more detail about the monitor's review. Jones offered her sympathy to Pickens and her family, reiterated that the monitor's prescribed role in the case is limited to review and recommendations to the APD and the city, and promised Pickens that her office would perform an "honest, straightforward, sincere, and thorough job." After the meeting, Pickens told a reporter that although she did not see the incident, she believes police could have subdued King without shooting her. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 9, at Covenant United Methodist Church (4410 Duval). All meetings are 7-9pm.

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