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Justice Dept. Declines Request to Review Austin Police Policies

The Justice Department won’t be taking another look at Austin Police policies.

City Manager Marc Ott asked the department to review Austin Police procedures following the shooting death of Larry Jackson Jr. by Austin Police Detective Charles Kleinert. Jackson, an African-American, was unarmed.

In 2007, the DOJ began a review of Austin Police policies, prompted by concerns minority citizens were the targets of deadly and excessive police force. The investigation concluded in 2011; while not finding any wrongdoing, the Justice Department issued over 160 recommendations for Austin police to implement.

The department cited that previous work in turning down Ott’s request they look at how well APD’s practices reflect department policy. The Justice Department says APD is sufficiently following its recommendations, and encourages them to “build upon the previous Civil Rights Division investigation.”

City Manager Ott, in a memo to the city council, says that “while we had hoped for active DOJ involvement, I am certainly pleased with the confidence they have indicated in existing APD policies and procedures.” He says Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo will conduct a “special review” of police tactics to ensure they align with the Justice Department’s previous recommendations.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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