City Council will seek answers from Austin Police Department over response to the weekend's violent protests

Protesters march toward the Texas Capitol. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Protesters march toward the Texas Capitol. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Protesters march toward the Texas Capitol. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Last weekend's, at times, violent protests against police brutality that brought thousands of people to downtown Austin resulted in chaotic scenes the had police firing less-lethal bean bag rounds at demonstrators and using tear gas to clear crowds off of I-35. A 16-year-old was shot in the head with a bean bag round at close range, requiring surgery. A pregnant woman was injured and a 20-year-old remains in critical condition at the hospital. A total of 53 people were arrested.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the intensity of the demonstrations were unprecedented for the city and that his department's response will require a deep review.

"This is protesting that we have not seen here before in Austin," Manley told reporters on June 1.

Austin City Council members also feel the police response, which drew heavy scrutiny from many in the community, deserves an analysis. On June 4, the mayor and City Council will bring in Manley to answer questions and explain his department's tactics and strategy. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., separate from the City Council's regularly scheduled meeting, set for 10 a.m. the same day.

District 1 City Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, the lone African-American council representative, said June 2 the weekend's protests were not a riot, but a demand to be heard.


"Our residents, they want us to hear their pain," Harper-Madison said in an emotional statement. "They want us to hear their outrage. They want this long overdue change to systems that protect the privileged while traumatizing the black, brown and marginalized people. We cannot continue to stick our fingers in our ears and just wait for the next eruption of anger."
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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