Austin civil activists call on end of partnership with Austin police, Texas DPS
AUSTIN, Texas - Civil activists gathered at Austin City Hall on May 4 to call for an ending of the partnership with the Austin Police Department (APD) and Texas DPS.
"If you watched the working session with mayor Kirk Watson, the city council and DPS and APD on Tuesday, you heard him quite literally say, we're watching the areas of Austin where the police he wants us to watch," says Chas Moore with Austin Justice Coalition.
During city council's work session, the council was briefed on the APD and DPS partnership. Austin police chief Joseph Chacon says the department assigned 100 troopers in high-crime-rate areas, which the Austin Justice Coalition says are neighborhoods of color.
"They are actually striking more trauma to unhoused population in our under-resourced neighborhoods in east Austin," says Chase Wright, with Hungry Hill Foundation.
Chief Chacon said on May 2, APD and DPS will consider relocating troops to avoid any idea that they are targeting certain groups of people.
"And I very much plan to do that so that we are not having a disparate impact on our communities of color," said Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon.
"If there's a switch in it, be based on policy reasons along those lines. We're here to support him, not to support anybody else but him, to help him be successful. And that's we'll continue to do so," says DPS director Steven McCraw.
- Nearly 90% of DPS misdemeanor arrests are people of color, data shows
- Texas DPS troopers make over 90 felony arrests since joint operation with APD
- Data from first two weeks of APD, Texas DPS partnership presented to city council
Those who came out to city hall shared why they want DPS out of their neighborhood.
"I've had people call me that got pulled over by DPS while riding on a bicycle, while riding on a bicycle. You cannot tell me this is not racial profiling," says Susana Almanza with PODER.
These groups are asking for accountability.
The next update meeting on the APD and DPS partnership will be on May 22.