Six Arrested After Police Demonstrations Converge at Capitol

Sep 19, 2015

Roughly two thousand people, wearing blue shirts and “Police Lives Matter” stickers, crowded in front of the Austin Police Department on Saturday morning. 

Updated: At around 1 p.m. a group of demonstrators walked onto I-35 at Exit 284B at 12th St., blocking traffic, and remained there for about ten minutes. 

Austin Police set up barricades and got the crowd to back off the freeway, at which point they started to walk on 10th St. toward downtown.

When the demonstrators, a smaller group than had been at the rally (the Rally Against Police Brutality, in part supported by the Black Lives Matter movement) when it began this morning, reached the area around 11th and Congress, police approached the crowd and surrounded them on three sides, stopping their march. 

Soon after this point, the crowd started to move again toward the Capitol. There were interactions between police and protestors that escalated, some of which you can see in the video below, submitted to KUT by demonstrator Holly Kirby.

A total of six were arrested by APD and the Department of Public Safety. APD Chief Art Acevedo said in a briefing that the charges were failure to obey a lawful order and obstructing a freeway. One person, he said, was charged with a simple assault.  

Protesters block the southbound lane of traffic on I-35 near 12th Street. No arrests were made at the scene.
Credit Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News
A demonstrator, who'd been walking with the group that took over a portion of I-35 near downtown, is handcuffed by APD.
Credit Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Original story: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo used a megaphone to express solidarity with this crowd, but also said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“The truth remains that no one wants to hold bad cops accountable more than what? Good cops!” he shouted, adding, however, that despite videos showing police officers who "fall short," most officers handle situations professionally. 

They marched to the Capitol and quietly made their way to the north steps. On the south side of the Capitol, a Black Lives Matter rally took place. 

Activists urged the crowd of about 300 people to join local and national organizations and to go to City Council meeting and show as much interest in police accountability in Austin as in cities across the U.S.

"I really wish in my whole heart that I saw a lot more black people in this crowd, but I'm going to fight and go out into the community and bring them here," said Briana Medearis, a native Austinite and community activist.