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CLEAT Subpoenas Adler in Officer's Hearing

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT
Mayor Steve Adler visiting KUT in February of 2015.

From the Austin Monitor:The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, has subpoenaed Mayor Steve Adler to give testimony at an upcoming arbitration hearing in the firing of Officer Geoffrey Freeman.

Freeman lost his job after shooting an unarmed, naked teenager in February when the teenager charged at him on his bicycle.

Charley Wilkison, executive director of CLEAT, wrote on the group’s website, “It’s clear that (Adler) … attempted to interfere with the due process of Officers Geoffrey Freeman and Bryan Richter” after each was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a Travis County grand jury.

Both Freeman and the teenager, David Joseph, are African-American, but the killing sparked demonstrations and calls for justice from people involved with Black Lives Matter. The mayor appeared at a City Hall demonstration, where he asked Police Chief Art Acevedo to make sure that APD would resolve questions about the case as quickly as possible.

Wilkison said Adler would be required to appear before a third-party hearing examiner who will decide whether Freeman should keep his job. The hearing has not yet started.

Contacted Monday night, Adler denied any interference in the arbitration process and said he learned about the subpoena via Twitter.

The CLEAT website quotes Wilkison as saying, “Mayor Adler has made it a point to express that he doesn’t agree with the grand jury process. Knowing full well that the arbitration process is underway, Mayor Adler is attempting to use his office to interfere with the rights of Officer Freeman and obstruct his due process.”

There is a link on the CLEAT website to a KXAN story about the mayor’s decision to establish a task force on institutional racism. That story quotes Adler as referring to the incidents in which Freeman killed Joseph and Richter threw schoolteacher Breaion King to the ground after a traffic stop.

Adler said he did point to the teenager’s shooting and the schoolteacher’s treatment as “disturbing.” However, the mayor strenuously denied that he had made any comments about either the grand jury process or the arbitration process.

Nonetheless, Wilkison insists that Adler is attempting to obstruct the process. Wilkison said that Freeman is entitled to a fair hearing under civil service rules and that the mayor’s comments jeopardize the fairness of the hearing.

Adler said the institutional racism task force has been asked to concentrate on a number of issues, including “things like access to capital, health care delivery and education, and housing,” and not to focus on law enforcement.

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