AUSTIN, Texas - Council spent Tuesday's work session hashing out police reform items coming up Thursday. There are items related to the Austin Police Department reform the council will vote on. The first one is item no. 50.
“It provides additional goals, metrics and a baseline. It sets the baseline for disparities and arrests,” said mayor pro team Delia Garza.
Garza reflected on the long fight to end police brutality in America, and in Austin. “Depending on what part of town you live in and what color skin you have you are more likely to get pulled over, have your car searched, or have excessive force used against you,” she said.
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“I remember marching down to the police station over and over again. The beatings and killings did not stop,” said councilmember Sabino “Pio” Renteria, district 3.
Next is item 96 which focuses on the police department’s budget, which for fiscal year 2019-20, was more than $430 million. Natasha Harper-Madison's resolution would look at ways to allocate police funding, elsewhere. “I don’t think an overfunded militarized police force that shoots peaceful protesters with lead pellet rounds is something our community wants,” she said.
Jimmy Flannigan's item 93 will convert the council judicial committee to a public safety committee. Greg Casar's item 95 will address police tactics.
“It starts changing police policy and police tactics on tear gas, impact munitions. We did hear during this last week that chokeholds have been banned in Austin for a long time. There may be loopholes we want to make sure we close any of those,” said Casar.
Garza said there shouldn't be two sides to this, but one side to end police brutality and bias
“I might go to my grave without knowing if we ever are going to have this equity we have been fighting so much for. This is something that's way overdue,” said Renteria.