AUSTIN, Texas - A new report alleges that “Austin Police shootings during mental health calls violate human rights.”
The report “Human Rights Framework Regarding Austin Police Department Mental Health Related Shootings” was released Wednesday by the University of Texas School of Law Human Rights Clinic and the Austin Community Law Center, or ACLC.
The report was released as a follow up to a report published by the city’s auditor, about a year ago. It found that of the 15 largest U.S. cities, Austin had the highest per capita rate of people killed by police responding to mental health calls.
“When people are dying, when there’s a way to intervene, to stop them from dying -- failure to do so is unlawful...” said Brian McGiverin, the executive director of the ACLC.
Austin Police Association President, Ken Casaday said the department is always open to additional training, but, he believes the department is already doing most of what was recommended.
“A lot of these recommendations we already do -- and I think it was just them coming out and I don’t know if they had grant money or why they did the study, but a lot of this stuffs already done.” he said.
Casaday, said Austin Police Chief Brian Manley has made it clear that the reduction of lethal force, is a priority.
“Chief Manley has made a commitment to more mental health training....Austin Police Department is a big agency with thousands of officers, it’s a kind of of ship it takes a while to turn, it can’t turn on a dime. Although they’re making tentative steps in the right direction we need to see exactly how they execute them.” McGiverin said.