AUSTIN, Texas - A Travis County grand jury is reviewing the actions of 18 Austin Police Department officers. This is in relation to the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020 where a number of protesters were injured. One of the victims was a 16-year-old who sustained brain damage.
The lawyer representing several of these officers spoke to FOX 7 Austin about the case.
"My clients used the less-lethal beanbag rounds with the shotguns provided by the department consistent with all the training that they had been given and consistent with not only the law but APD policy," said attorney Doug O'Connell.
The Austin Police Association is backing the officers in question and claims the issue that summer wasn’t them.
"In no way should these officers be culpable for their actions because we believe they were provided with faulty expired ammunition that caused these serious injuries," said Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday.
Casaday claims the equipment used that summer was the problem and it should be looked at and addressed.
"The beanbags, in our opinion, should not have caused the damage that they did and some departments at the upper level knew that they were expired and should’ve been replaced years before. I think there’s a reckoning to come for certain managerial positions in our department."
Following those injuries in 2020, the city and the police department were quick to announce they would no longer use these less-than-lethal rounds during crowd situations. However, former Austin Police Chief Brian Manley did say those rounds could be useful in other circumstances.
The Travis County grand jury could decide on criminal charges for those involved. A decision is expected to come down within the next two weeks.
Pregnant Black woman wants officers who reportedly shot her with beanbag rounds to be held accountable
Austin surgeons shocked by injuries protesters sustained by bean bag rounds
Use of force criticized in protests about police brutality
Brother of 16-year-old shot in the head with bean bag by APD speaks during City Council special meeting
Why are police using bean bag rounds? APA answers