During a virtual work session on Tuesday, the 11 councilmembers – including Mayor Steve Adler – showed unusual solidarity by agreeing to co-sponsor several resolutions intended to tackle racial injustice at the hands of the Austin Police Department. One of the items also aims to create a smoother path to housing for people with criminal histories.
The council is scheduled to officially vote on the proposed resolutions on Thursday. The items the council is unified on aim to:
- Set a goal of zero racial disparities in traffic stops and arrests. (Item 50)
- Create a Public Safety Committee from the existing Judicial Committee. (Item 93)
- Direct City Manager Spencer Cronk to recommend policies that reduce the look-back period for vetting rental applications for a prospective tenant with a criminal history. (Item 94)
- Prohibit the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants and reduce the use of militarized equipment by APD. (Item 95)
- Remove funding from the upcoming year's City budget for hiring additional APD officers or acquiring equipment like beanbag rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. (Item 96)
Several councilmembers have expressed their concerns over the leadership of APD Chief Brian Manley amid calls for his resignation by groups like the Austin Justice Coalition, following more than a week of protests in the city over police brutality and racial injustice.
Adler also appeared on CNN, where he spoke on the council's intent to pass the police reform.
"We're talking about taking dollars away from the police because there are a lot of situations," Adler told CNN. "We don't need somebody who's a sworn officer and a gun in order to be able to accomplish what the community needs done."
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