AUSTIN, Texas - Austin police officers had a lot on their hands as protesters voiced their opinions about the killing of Minnesota man George Floyd at the hands of police last week. They also protested the killing of Austin man Mike Ramos.
“A lot of people out there were peacefully protesting, expressing to officers their feelings, using lots of profanity, but that was just people expressing themselves,” said Ken Casaday, Austin Police Association president.
Things started out peaceful. There were a few agitators according to the police union president. “Chief Manley got hit in the chest with an egg standing outside. Several officers were hit with eggs, water bottles,” said Casaday.
He said protesters had balloons filled with paint, balloons filled with urine, as well as bricks and rocks. When protesters got out of hand, that's when cops had to take some action, especially on I-35.
“The day before we just forced people off with pepper spray and pushed people back, also using bean bags. Yesterday was done in a much better way, by using smoke and tear gas because people immediately run and get off,” said Casaday.
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Overnight, looting started up, something council member Jimmy Flannigan did not condone, but he said the city is in a rough patch right now when it comes to feelings about police brutality.
“I’m not going to tell people how to protest. When we see police violence, we have a very visceral reaction and we want to find a way to address that. When we see looting and we also have a visceral reaction and nobody wants to see that either. People are angry and they are frustrated,” he said.
Flannigan believes there was unnecessary violence from APD as well.
“The violence that one set of protesters may do does not justify the macing of bystanders or shooting of bean bags at folks who are not participating in that violence,” said Flannigan.
“The interstate is not the place to be protesting. Those protesters out there were given plenty of notice on the loudspeaker on the helicopter,” said Casaday.
But there was one common theme from all this...and it was to advocate for all police across the country to do the right thing.