Racial Justice

Teams put red crosses on gear to indicate they are volunteer medics at a demonstration against police brutality and systemic racism, in Austin on May 31.
Michael Minasi / KUT

A woman filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Wednesday against the City of Austin and an unidentified Austin police officer, claiming the officer used excessive force as she was helping an injured person during a Black Lives Matter protest on May 31.

Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Milwaukee Bucks were scheduled to play the Orlando Magic in the NBA playoffs on Wednesday afternoon. Instead, they kicked off one of the biggest strikes in American sports.

Updated 4:13 p.m. ET

Thousands of demonstrators braved sweltering temperatures in the nation's capital on Friday to demand an overhaul of the country's criminal justice system and push for racial equality.

The event, called the Commitment March, was held at the Lincoln Memorial, the same site where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called for those same reforms decades ago in his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

Black lawmakers at the Texas Legislature unveiled on Thursday the George Floyd Act, a sweeping police reform proposal that would ban chokeholds across the state and require law enforcement officers to intervene or render aid if another officer is using excessive force while on the job.

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.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr puts the founding principles of the Justice Department "more at risk than at any time in modern history," the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee charged on Tuesday.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., excoriated Barr because he said the attorney general sought conflict with Americans at an unprecedented scale, including via federal law enforcement crackdowns, and has created what Nadler called a special reserve of justice for the well-connected.

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.

Talib Abdullahi created a Black history social bike ride through Austin.
Tamir Kalifa

When Talib Abdullahi first shared his idea on Instagram, he wasn’t expecting much.

He wanted to get some friends together for a bike ride to explore Austin’s Black history. He figured maybe 20 or 30 friends would join him.

People gather in Austin on May 30 to protest racism and police brutality. Local leaders want to ensure the movement for racial justice continues for generations to come.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Black leaders in Central Texas are forming a new coalition called the Black Leaders Collective to address systemic racism.

The group has about 40 members, including activists, educators, artists and policymakers, who say they want to create meaningful and transformative change that goes beyond conducting studies and making plans. 

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.

Mandy Collins lives in Little Mountain, S.C., with her husband and three kids. The 38-year-old never owned a gun before. Her husband doesn't have one either. But after the pandemic hit, she spent $450 on a powerful handgun.

"With all the toilet paper gone and everything, people just started acting crazy," she says. "I guess the fear of the unknown and letting prisoners out of prison, and I just ... decided I wanted to go ahead and just purchase one."

The Hays County Historic Courthouse
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Hays County will implement a cite and divert program starting Sept. 1, the sheriff's office announced Wednesday.  

The decision to move forward with the program comes after more than a year of discussion.

Photos of Ahmaud Arbery and Michael Ramos are displayed during a vigil on Wednesday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

A small group of pastors and community members prayed for peace and justice during a vigil in East Austin Wednesday night. The solemn gathering was a contrast to protesters chanting around the Austin Police Department a mile away. 

Austin Price for KUT

June 19 marks Juneteenth, a celebration of the de facto end of slavery in the United States.

For hundreds of thousands of African-Americans stuck in pretrial detention – accused but not convicted of a crime, and unable to leave because of bail – that promise remains unfulfilled. And coming immediately after Father’s Day, it’s also a reminder of the loss associated with the forced separation of families.