DOJ rejects invitation from Austin regarding APD tactics



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Posted on September 6, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 12:19 PM

AUSTIN -- The U.S. Department of Justice will not accept the City's invitation to look into the tactics of Austin police officers.
City Manager Marc Ott received a letter from the federal government this week saying they were declining to look into whether officers abided by departmental policy. They also declined to assess the Austin Police Department's relationship with the community.

The City's request came after the high-profile shooting in late July of Larry Jackson after a foot chase that began outside a Central Austin bank.

Police have said that Jackson tried to get inside the locked bank, which had been robbed earlier that day and fled when APD Detective Charles Kleinert tried to question him.

According to a press release from the City of Austin, the City's request for a DOJ investigation of APD follows an investigation opened by the DOJ in May 2007 after allegations of excessive force. The press release states that investigation was closed in May 2011, when the "DOJ concluded they did not have reasonable cause to believe that APD engaged in actions that deprived residents of their protections under the Constitution."

The DOJ gave APD more than 160 recommendations that provided guidance on how to better the department. The City says the vast majority of the suggestions have been implemented.
"Because of the implementation of those recommendations, the DOJ feels that the City of Austin currently has standing oversight tools and practices that can provide a credible means for the City to respond to incidents like the recent events in Austin, thus determining that the existing mechanisms will be the most effective way of refurbishing community trust in APD," the press release states.

"I have directed Chief Acevedo to conduct an internal review to determine if our tactics are consistent with our policies. The Chief has committed to providing a report to me within 90 days,” Ott said

Go here to read the DOJ's letter to Marc Ott in its entirety.

Go here to read Marc Ott's letter to Austin's council members and mayor