AUSTIN, Texas - Last week, the Austin Police Department deployed less-than-lethal weapons to get some protesters under control, these included tear gas and bean bag rounds
“I for one don't feel that overfunding a militarized police force while neighborhoods don't have sidewalks, and families in the shadow of the digital divide is something our community wants,” said councilmember Natasha Harper-Madison, district 1.
The Austin City Council will take up specific items related to police reform in the wake of protests in the city. One item bans the use of less than lethal force such as tear gas and bean bags.
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“I’ve sponsored one of the items that ban chokeholds, like the chokehold that was used to murder George Floyd. The item also bans shooting at people who are fleeing like Mike Ramos,” said councilmember Greg Casar, district 4.
Councilmember Delia Garza is sponsoring an item that sets a goal of zero racial disparities when it comes to things like traffic stops and arrests. This also comes as the Austin Justice Coalition calls for council to defunds the police department by $100 million.
“I’m willing to make that pledge,” said Garza.
“The goal shouldn’t just be when you call 911 how quickly someone can get to you, but also how can we create a city where you don't have to call 911 as often,” said Casar.
Councilmember Jimmy Flannigan has an item that would change the council's judicial committee into a public safety committee. Flannigan said input will not only come from the public but officers themselves.
“I have officers who share frustrations and express the same concerns of the community,” said Flannigan.
“We should aspire and act to realize an Austin policing model that doesn't make addressing poverty and mental health the responsibility of our police,” said Mayor Steve Adler.