Travis County District Attorney launches online form to report police abuses

Police line at Austin protests in June
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office released a tool June 12 to make it easier for individuals to report instances of police abuse. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office released a tool June 12 to make it easier for individuals to report instances of police abuse. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

One day after Austin City Council voted on a series of police reforms, the Travis County District Attorney’s office released a tool to make it easier for people to report instances of police abuse.

On June 12, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore announced that her office has launched a citizen’s complaint form to its website for individuals looking to report cases of excessive force committed by police officers and other public servants. The new complaint form can be found here.

The Travis County District Attorney's Office Civil Rights Division does not investigate administrative or civil cases from allegations of public servant misconduct or use of force, according to the county’s website. Previously, the district attorney’s office only advised individuals to contact low-cost legal representation in order to obtain legal representation to help with civil rights complaints.

According to its website, the district attorney’s office still advises residents to first contact the agency of the offending officer in order to file a complaint, but this form now provides an additional avenue to register a civil rights complaint.

If individuals are not comfortable filing a complaint with the agency of the offending officer or if they do not find it feasible to do so, the new form on the district attorney’s website is a resource for people looking to file a complaint.


The Travis County District Attorney’s Office states on its website that its Civil Rights Unit will help advise individuals who file this form on how to proceed with the complaint.

In a June 13 post on Twitter, Moore state her office has open investigations into excessive police force that occurred in the past several weeks.

"We have always encouraged citizens to make independent reports to our office when they think they have been a victim of unlawful force by a public servant," Moore wrote. "But we are adding an electronic form to our website that will hopefully make the process easier for the public to access and use. It will also allow our prosecutors to review the complaints in a more efficient way."

In 2017, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office formed its own civil rights division, which is divided into the civil rights unit and the conviction integrity unit, according to the county.

County records indicate there are eight pending officer-involved shooting investigations in Travis County, including the April 24 shooting of Michael Ramos, an unarmed black man who was killed when an Austin police officer shot him three times with a rifle.

The public can additionally file an in-person complaint with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Division.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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