Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo refuted claims the department uses excessive force against minorities at a press conference this afternoon.
The chief’s heated speech came after the Austin NAACP formally filed a complaint with the Department of Justice against APD for alleged mistreatment of Hispanics and African-Americans.
Acevedo said that occasional use of force is an ugly reality of the job for many police officers. “We can’t change law to take away officers’ rights to defend themselves or others,” he said.
Acevedo argued that he has been recognized a model of leadership by the DOJ. “You’re looking at a chief who is a reformer, who is held up as a reformer,” he said.
Original post (3:52 p.m.): The Austin branch of the NAACP is filing a complaint against the City of Austin and the Austin Police Department because of the department’s alleged use of excessive force against minorities. A similar complaint filed in 2004 lead the Department of Justice to issue 165 recommendations to APD. That investigation closed in 2011.
The NAACP said in the complaint they want APD to stop receiving federal funds until the department’s behavior changes.
“The basis here is that the use of force among African Americans and Hispanics is still high,” said Austin NAACP president Nelson Linder. “Obviously this issue’s not being addressed properly.”
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is currently holding a press conference to address the allegations.