AUSTIN, Texas - A photo-op in front of Austin City Hall Sunday is raising questions.
Sunday afternoon, Wind Therapy Freedom Riders, a pro-police motorcycle group held “Re-fund Our Austin Police Department - Enough is Enough” demonstrations in front of the Austin Police Department’s Headquarters and The W, where Mayor Steve Adler owns a condominium.
The demonstrations were held in support of the police, denouncing Mayor Adler, and his decision to cut the police department's budget.
“What employer would want to work for a city where his employer treats them like political pawns?” said Elle Vee Johns, President of the Texas Police Spouses Association.
Several Central Texas Republican political candidates, Dennis Farris a retired Austin Police SPO and member of the Retired Officer Association and Becky McMillian of “Your minute is up!” a group pushing to “recall Mayor Adler” spoke.
At least one member of the “Proud Boys,” Christopher Ritchie attended the demonstration at Austin Police Headquarters. He stood with the group but did not participate in the event.
At the second demonstration that occurred at the W immediately after, at least two other men also dawning black and gold“Proud Boys” clothing joined Ritchie, and the rest of the group.
At the conclusion of the demonstration, the WTFers asked on-duty Austin Police bike patrol officers, who were across the street behind City Hall to take a photo together. The officers agreed. The WTFers, candidates, members of “Your minute is up!” and the Proud Boys participated in the photo-op. The proud boys displayed “white power” signs in the photographs.
FOX 7 Austin spoke with the police departments Public Information and Marketing Manager Angelique Myers-Evans Sunday night. She says the department is looking into the matter.
Luis Rodriguez, National President and Co-Founder of the WTFers sent FOX 7 Austin this statement.
"The Wind Therapy Freedom riders gathered earlier today in support of the men and women of the Austin Police Department and to advocate for needed public safety funding. During the course of that rally, we posed for a group photo with several officers at which time, members of the "Proud Boys" organization jumped into the picture unbeknownst to us. These individuals were not invited to participate in the event nor do they reflect the values of the Wind Therapy Freedom Riders."
Joseph Fontaine, who organized a recall Adler parade on I-35, that joined with the demonstrations at APD and the W told FOX 7 Austin “at no time was this [the ‘Proud Boys’] protest.” Adding “we asked them if we could take pictures with them. It was the group, not “Proud Boys.”
FOX 7 Austin also reached out to Mayor Adler's office.