Austin Police Department

Protesters outside Austin City Hall on July 11 call for defunding the police department.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The second public hearing on the City of Austin’s proposed budget is taking place today. Speakers are phoning in to a virtual City Council meeting to tell council members their thoughts on the proposal.

A mural on La Mexicana in South Austin commemorates Mike Ramos, who was shot and killed by an Austin police officer in April.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

As a kid, Mike Ramos used to walk to get pastries for his grandmother every week from La Mexicana, the panaderia that's been a mainstay on South First Street for 30 years. Just a block away from where he and his mother Brenda Ramos lived on Annie Street, the bakery's south wall now bears two murals commemorating Mike, who was shot and killed by Austin Police Officer Christopher Taylor in April.

The South First Street bridge in downtown Austin is closed in both directions as more than a dozen law enforcement units respond to a situation.
Cassandra Clark

A standoff between law enforcement officers and someone in a vehicle on the South First Street bridge in downtown Austin has ended.

Officers had closed the bridge and nearby Cesar Chavez Street, and the City of Austin was asking people to stay away from the area during the standoff.

Screenshot from APD video via YouTube

Lee esta historia en español. 

Video footage released Monday of the shooting of Mike Ramos shows the 42-year-old pleading with Austin police officers to put their guns down, telling them he doesn't have a weapon and that they are scaring him.

APD Officer Christopher Taylor shot and killed Ramos, who was Black and Hispanic, in late April.

Protesters call for the defunding of the Austin Police Department outside City Hall on July 11.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Austinites waited with their phones on hold, some for over an hour, to tell city council members on Thursday that proposed cuts to the police department’s budget were too small. Residents seeking more profound changes called the cuts a “pittance,” “insulting” and a “slap in the face.”

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley
Julia Reihs / KUT

 

Lee esta historia en español.

Before dawn on March 21, 2018, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley stood on the side of I-35 in Round Rock, flanked by federal officers, and announced that the suspect in a series of bombings was dead.

Austin Police officers stand outside APD headquarters during protests against police killings and systemic racism.
Michael Minasi / KUT

The Austin Police Department says it will delay the release of body camera footage from officers who caused serious injuries to demonstrators during the first weekend of protests against police killings and systemic racism in Austin.

Student protesters hold a sign outside Austin City Hall on Saturday calling for the city to defund police and invest more in the community.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin is proposing to reduce the Austin Police Department’s planned budget by $8.1 million, despite calls for much bigger cuts to the department. 

Signs on Spencer Cronk's lawn call for defunding the Austin Police Department.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The front lawn of the City of Austin's highest-paid employee got some new lawn ornaments Thursday.

Organizations urging radical change to how the city spends money erected more than two dozen lawn signs outside Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk’s house. One sign read, “Increase funding for Austin Public Health to survive the pandemic and beyond,” another “Protect and create more low-income housing.”

An Austin police officer walks by a line of police cars.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The Austin Police Department announced Thursday it will stop ticketing and arresting people for low-level and nonviolent marijuana offenses – six months after the City Council asked the chief to adopt the policy and he refused.

An officer points a shotgun at a protester.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Police Department has named five officers it says may be responsible for seriously injuring people demonstrating during the first weekend of protests against systemic racism and police violence.

Graffiti references the police killings of George Floyd and Mike Ramos on the side of Austin Police Department headquarters.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The release of body camera footage in the police killing of Mike Ramos is being delayed, the city said Sunday. The Austin Police Department had planned to release the video Monday, but failed to follow proper procedure, according to City Manager Spencer Cronk.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, with City Manager Spencer Cronk and Austin Mayor Steve Adler behind him.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley will stay in his position, a city spokesperson confirmed in an email Thursday.

An Austin police officer next to some police cruisers
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Of the dozen times in 2018 when an Austin police officer shot at someone, nearly half took place in District 2 in Southeast Austin, according to a new report from the city's Office of Police Oversight.

Three of those shootings in District 2 were fatal.

Saraneka Martin with her husband, Kenneth Martin, outside Austin Police Department headquarters.
Michael Minasi / KUT

A 24-year-old pregnant protester who was shot with a lead-pellet bag by Austin police two weeks ago is calling for accountability.

Saraneka Martin, who is seven weeks pregnant, said she was sitting with other demonstrators during the first weekend of protests downtown when police began using the so-called less-lethal ammunition.

Brenda Ramos at her home in South Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Brenda Ramos is not broken.

She strains in a chair in her South Austin home, adjusting the pain-relief pads just below her shoulder, displacing the rosary she's been keeping around her neck since her son, Mike, died. She's surrounded by sympathy cards and flowers. A crucifix reads, "I am with you."

A protester holds a sign that says, "Defund the Police."
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

"Defund the police” has become a nationwide rallying cry for people protesting police violence against black people. Locally, the Austin Justice Coalition has asked the City Council to remove $100 million from police department's budget.

A protester holds a sign that says "We demand police reform."
Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español.

Austin City Council members voted unanimously Thursday on four items related to the Austin Police Department’s policy and budget, including transferring some money from police to social services and banning police use of some potentially deadly weapons and practices.

Austin police keep watch on protesters at a demonstration May 31.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council will consider multiple resolutions Thursday to direct money away from the police budget and toward the root causes of issues that lead to police interactions – including domestic violence, homelessness and addiction.

Thousands rallied at Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin to protest police violence on June 7, 2020.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Thousands gathered at Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin on Sunday to rally against police violence against black people and systemic racism. It was at least the 10th day of protests in Austin over the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25, the latest in many police killings of unarmed black people nationwide. Protesters are also demanding justice in the killing of Mike Ramos, a Hispanic and black man, by Austin police April 24.  

Austin police move to clear protesters from I-35 during protests against systemic racism on Sunday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

A fractured skull. A severe chest wound. A broken jaw from where a lead-pellet bag lodged inside the person's mouth. The injuries to protesters over the weekend could have been fatal, the Austin-Travis County EMS chief told City Council members Friday morning. The physical and psychological recovery could take years.

And all the injuries were caused by police.

Michael Minasi / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Joshua Howell wants you to listen. He wants you to listen to people of color when they talk about and document police violence and racism. He wants you to experience it as those folks did.

Protesters run away from I-35 after Austin police officers fired tear gas Sunday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin City Council members have reconvened Friday morning after hearing from citizens for more than five hours Thursday about police violence during weekend protests.

Austin police officers block protesters from getting onto the highway during demonstrations against police violence Sunday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin police will not fire bags filled with lead pellets into crowds going forward, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Thursday.

Demonstrators facing police hold signs saying "Honor your rage" and "End police brutality" at a protest in downtown Austin on Sunday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council heard from hundreds of people during an emergency meeting Thursday that addressed police violence at weekend protests against the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Austin. 

Sam Biscoe served as Travis County judge for 15 years before returning to the position on an interim basis in May.
Office of County Judge Sam Biscoe

Sam Biscoe is no stranger to racism. He grew up in the shadow of segregation in Tyler, participated in the civil rights movement and started his career as a lawyer with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. 

Liz Brake, a volunteer medic, poses outside Austin Police Department headquarters during nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Liz Brake had a long day Saturday. A lot of people did. One could argue the entire country did

As a volunteer medic on the streets of Austin, she worked through waves of pepper spray, waves of "beanbags" fired off by law enforcement, and hours of chanting by demonstrators targeted by those beanbags.

Protesters demonstrate against police brutality, in Austin on Sunday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than 300 people have signed up to talk about what transpired during weekend protests against systemic racism and police killings, at an emergency Austin City Council session Thursday.

Council members will reconvene the following morning to hear from Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. No immediate action is expected to be taken.

Police line up in downtown Austin on Sunday during protests over police violence against black people.
Michael Minasi / KUT

In addition to talking about police accountability and the dangers protesters face in the streets, the Austin Justice Coalition discussed Tuesday the idea of cutting police department budgets.

People gathered at the Capitol on Sunday to protest police killings of unarmed black people.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Chas Moore, executive director of the Austin Justice Coalition, says he doesn’t condone or criticize protesters’ actions in Austin over the weekend. 

Pages