CLEAT vs. Mayor Steve Adler

On February 8th, Austin Police Officer Geoffrey Freeman yelled for David Joseph to "stop."  The teen was unarmed and naked but he would not stop.  Freeman shot him twice, killing him.

"He was responding with the training that Chief Acevedo and the City of Austin had provided him," said Charley Wilkison with CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas).

APD fired Officer Freeman but a Travis County grand jury cleared him of any wrong-doing. Now he's trying to get his job back.

Last week during a press conference on a new "Institutional Racism Task Force," Austin Mayor Steve Adler said this: "Now I first spoke about this publicly after a couple police incidents involving Breion King and David Joseph. Folks, as you recall, were raising issues with respect to criminal justice and race," Adler said during the press conference.

By the way, earlier this month a grand jury also cleared officer Bryan Richter in the Breion King case. Charley Wilkison the Executive Director of CLEAT says Adler has hurt Freeman's chances of arbitration.

"What he's done is stepped inside here and colored the mind of that arbitrator.  Fixed it so that officer Freeman will not win the arbitration," Wilkison said.

Wilkison says part of the arbitrator's job is to determine if he can interact with the public again.

"If Officer Freeman were to return to work as an institutional racist, he would never be able to work the streets," Wilkison said.

Wilkison says CLEAT has sent Adler a subpoena.

"We want to know what he thinks, we want to know all of the information that he thinks he holds going into this we want to be able to question him because of these comments," Wilkison said.

Mayor Adler disagrees with CLEAT on this.

"I haven't interfered with any officer's rights.  I'm not involved in such personnel matters and I haven't given an opinion as to anybody's culpability civil or criminal," Adler said.

The Mayor says there's a difference between discussing institutional racism and a particular person.

"Real clearly I have not called any member of our police force a racist nor have I said our police force was racist,' Adler said.

So will Adler appear at the hearing? 

"The city suggested yesterday to the hearings officer that I wasn't a fact-finder or a witness to any of the facts pertinent or germane to the administrative civil service question that was presented in that case," Adler said. 

"I expect them to not to want him to be forced to testify.  And I expect us to demand that he does," Wilkison said.

CLEAT says Officer Freeman's arbitration hearing is December 5th.

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