AUSTIN, Texas - The Office of Police Oversight has published over 200 protest-related complaints against the Austin Police Department and says it was contacted almost 900 times over the last two weeks.
The office says it was contacted 895 times (107 by an online form, 387 by phone and 401 by email) in relation to the recent protests against police brutality that began on May 29. Of those, 227 formal complaints were published and are representative of 606 individuals who filed a complaint.
The published complaints were received between May 29 and June 10 and range from concerns about the use of force against protesters to specific complaints about injuries to individuals, such as 16-year-old Brad Levi Ayala, who was shot in the head with a less-lethal bean bag round while watching the protests on May 30.
Last week, Director Farah Muscadin reported to Austin City Council that the Office of Police Oversight received an unprecedented number of complaints about interactions between protesters and the Austin Police Department. In previous years, OPO received an average of 50 formal complaints.
“This volume of complaints and the pattern of alleged behavior echoes the sentiment expressed at recent City Council meetings,” said Muscadin in a release. “Residents are concerned about the use of force by the Austin Police Department and are calling for transparency and accountability.”
The Office of Police Oversight, which is not a part of APD, is staffed by civilian, non-police employees. Staff review complaints submitted by the public and the office says if a potential policy violation is identified, a formal complaint is drafted and submitted to APD’s Internal Affairs department for investigation. The OPO monitors all Internal Affairs investigations.
The complaints released Friday all bear the Class A designation, which, according to OPO, include but are not limited to:
- Criminal conduct
- Serious policy violations
- Conduct that could damage the Police Department