Here is how to file a civil rights complaint in the Austin area

(Designed by Rachal Russell/Community Impact Newspaper)
(Designed by Rachal Russell/Community Impact Newspaper)

(Designed by Rachal Russell/Community Impact Newspaper)

Protests calling for police accountability and criminal justice reform continue for a fifth day in Austin.

Austin City Council will hold a special called meeting June 4 to discuss the tactics used by the Austin Police Department against protestors over the weekend, which included firing tear gas canisters to disperse crowds. Police also fired "less-lethal" impact rounds at protestors, leading to hospitalization of several protestors, according to APD Chief Brian Manley.

Residents interested in providing public comment at that meeting are encouraged to sign up to speak here. The special meeting begins at 3 p.m. on June 4.

In Austin, the office of police oversight was established in November 2018 in order to establish greater transparency and oversight of the department, according to city documents.

In its first annual report, the office reported 802 contacts were made between Dec. 1, 2018, and Dec. 1, 2019, which may or may not have resulted in formal complaints against the APD or individual officers. According to the office, of those 802 contacts, 10 cases were identified as potential policy violations.

Citizens who feel they need to file a civil rights case against law enforcement have several avenues to make a complaint. Here are directions on how to file civil rights complaints with local and state government agencies.


Residents can file complaints against law-enforcement officers within APD through the city’s website, over the phone, by mail or in person.

The form to file a complaint on the office’s website can be found here.

To call in a complaint or to thank an Austin police officer, the public should call 512-972-2676. Complaints can be mailed to P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767. In-person complaints can be filed at the city of Austin Office of Police Oversight, located at 1520 Rutherford Lane, Bldg. 1, Austin.


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 eight pending officer-involved shooting investigations in Travis County, including the April 24 shooting of Michael Ramos, an unarmed black man who was killed after being shot three times with a rifle by an Austin police officer.

However, the Travis County 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. The civil rights division recommends civilians contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas in order to obtain legal representation to help with civil rights complaints.

The Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas provides legal assistance at reduced cost. According to the group’s website, clients are charged $20 for up to 30 minutes on the first consultation with a lawyer through its service.

The public can additionally file a complaint with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs division.

Complaints must be filed in person at the internal affairs unit office, located at 5555 Airport Blvd., Austin, between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Complaint forms in English and Spanish can be downloaded off the sheriff’s office website, found here.

The internal affairs unit states complaint investigations generally take 60 days to complete and for the department’s board of disciplinary review to determine any supplemental discipline.


The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Professional Standards division handles complaints against county law enforcement personnel.

Complaints can be filed through the sheriff’s office’s “Quality Assurance Report Form,” which can be found online here. These reports must be filed in person at the sheriff’s office, located at 508 S. Rock St., Georgetown.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office also states civilians can contact the department with complaints over the phone by calling 512-943-1360.


According to state numbers, the Texas Department of Public Safety received 1,148 complaints in 2018. Those complaints resulted in 256 investigations by the office of the inspector general, which oversees policy and law violations by the state’s law-enforcement department.

Civilians can file complaints against Department of Public Safety personnel by submitting a complaint form to the office of the inspector general through mail, fax or email. More information can be found on the DPS website, located here.

Complaints should be mailed to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Office of Inspector General, 13706 Research Blvd., Ste. 100, Austin. Complaints can be faxed to 512-424-5769 or emailed to

While submitting a complaint, the public should write, in a narrative form, a concise statement of the nature of the complaint with all relevant facts, including the name of the DPS employee, if it is known, or any information that will help the office identify the law enforcement official. Civilians submitting complaints additionally need to leave contact information, including an address and phone number, for investigators.
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.


Overall in Travis County there has been a total of 10,695 cases since mid-March.. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Travis County adds 571 COVID-19 cases; new restriction put in place ahead of holiday weekend

Overall in Travis County there has been a total of 10,695 cases since mid-March.

The First Street Foundation's dataset includes a forecast models that anticipate the effects of climate change and sea level rise. (Screenshot via First Street Foundation)
Analysis: FEMA may be undercounting national total flood risk by as much as 70%

The new dataset includes an interactive Flood Factor dashboard that anyone can use to assess the risk of flooding over a 30-year period for any address.

A photo of a person wearing a medical mask
Travis County Judge supports state masking order, says county will enforce

After Gov. Greg Abbot's statewise mandate to wear masks that cover mouth and nose, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe voiced his support.

A statue of Willie Nelson sits in front of ACL Live at the Moody Theater at the corner of Lavaca and Second streets.
Austin police will no longer arrest for low-level marijuana possession

Austin police will no longer arrest or issue citations for most marijuana possession offenses under 4 ounces.

Williamson County has now recorded 2,388 total COVID-19 cases, including 1,342 that are currently active. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Williamson County reports 49 additional confirmed coronavirus cases July 2

Currently, 107 patients are hospitalized and 32 are in intensive care, per the report.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott: Texans must wear masks in public starting July 3

"COVID-19 is not going away," Gov. Abbott said. "In fact, it is getting worse."

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments. (Source: Matt Frankel/Community Impact Newspaper)
'Refinancing isn't free:' How to navigate refinancing a mortgage

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments.

Episcopal Health Foundation
Survey: Texans support emphasis on improving economy, safety, pollution to address overall health

“COVID-19 is clearly showing what Texans already know: the state needs to address underlying, non-medical conditions that have a dramatic impact on their health,” Episcopal Health Foundation President and CEO Elena Marks said.

In the course of a month, the number of patients admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19 has increased more than fivefold, according to Austin Public Health data. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Deluge of new COVID-19 cases forces Austin-area health officials to limit testing, shift tracing strategy

Fighting antiquated fax machines and a sharp rise in the demand for testing, officials said contact tracers are not able to get in touch with residents quickly enough to prevent the spread of the virus.

CommunityCare Health Centers drive-up coronavirus testing site
CommUnityCare will no longer test asymptomatic people for COVID-19 as testing demand swells

CommUnityCare Health Centers is now only testing individuals who show symptoms, those who have a known exposure to the coronavirus or those with other existing health conditions.

The H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks will not take place this year due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. (Courtesy Ricardo Brazziel)
Read the latest on 4th of July celebrations in Central Texas

Area cities have canceled or modified their Independence Day events.

In communities across the nation, Walmart Supercenter parking lots will be transformed into contact-free, drive-in movie theaters beginning in August. (Courtesy Walmart)
Walmart to bring drive-in movies to 160 stores nationwide in August, launch virtual summer camp

Families can also enjoy a virtual summer camp experience Walmart is launching July 8 with sessions led by celebrities, including Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris and LeBron James.