Why Are the Austin Police Monitor's Reports a Year Behind Schedule?
The City of Austin has its own department dedicated to auditing the police force – it’s called the Office of the Police Monitor. It’s supposed to issue an annual report summarizing all the year’s officer-involved shootings, complaints against police and investigations into the department.
The backlog is real.
“I think that it’s not acceptable,” says Margo Frasier, the Austin Police Monitor. “We’ve got to figure out a way around this inherent delay that seems to be there. We have to figure out a new way of doing things so as to get things out timely.”
Though it’s not set in stone, she says she prefers to publish annual reports only when all the cases from that year have come to an end. What’s holding up the report for 2013? The case of APD Officer Charles Kleinert, who allegedly shot and killed a man, Larry Jackson, in July 2013. Kleinert was indicted for manslaughter by a grand jury last May, ten months after the shooting.
Frasier says the grand jury process is taking longer than in years prior.
“They’re dragging on now for a year and a half, two years. Obviously, if you have a case where an officer’s indicted, it can drag on for even longer,” Frasier says.
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office would not comment on its grand jury process. Kleinert has yet to go to trial on manslaughter charges. So Frasier says she plans to mark that case “pending” and get the 2013 report out next week – more than a year behind schedule.
The 2014 report, she says, should follow close behind.