Mayor Adler's racism task force reels backlash from police unions

Mayor subpoenaed in officer's arbitration

AUSTIN - Austin's Mayor is set to testify at an arbitration hearing for fired Austin police officer, Geoffrey Freeman next month.

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT, represents Freeman and is behind the subpoena. Freeman is trying to get his job back after fatally shooting a naked and unarmed David Joseph in February.

CLEAT claims Mayor Steve Adler violated the officer's due process.

"Now we're on a trajectory of having an institutional racist as a client and Officer Freeman is forever stuck in the world in which the Mayor of Austin has painted him," said Charley Wilkison, the Executive Director of CLEAT.

The claim stems from the Mayor's press release, announcing the creation of an anti-racism task force last week. At issue, the mentioning of the David Joseph and Breaion King incidents.

An APD officer slammed King to the ground during a traffic stop. A judge dismissed her lawsuit against the City last month, but a suit against the officer is ongoing. The Mayor denied the allegation.

"I've never said the police department is a racist institution but what I will say is that there are institutional barriers to minorities in our community as there are in every community," said Mayor Adler. 

But Wilkison and Austin Police Association President, Ken Casaday, said this is part of a larger issue. They said political leaders at all levels making disparaging remarks against law enforcement adds to the current hate climate against police.

In July, Texas Lt. Governor, Dan Patrick talked to President Barack Obama about this very issue.

"I would ask you to be careful when there is an incident of not being too quick to condemn the police without due process," said the Lt. Governor. 

Casaday also pointed out Councilmen Greg Casar's press release the day after Donald Trump was elected when he called for civil disobedience. Casaday called the release inappropriate

"When you ask for people to rebel and be disobedient, the people that end up suffering from that are local businesses and the police department who have to go out there and quell those issues," said Casaday.

KVUE reached out to Casar's office for comment and will update this story when it is received.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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