AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that he has endorsed Texas House candidate Justin Berry (R-District 19), one of the 19 Austin police officers indicted for excessive force during the 2020 police protests.
The endorsement comes as Berry is set to face former Austin Councilmember Ellen Troxclair in a runoff this May for the Republican candidacy in the district that includes Fredricksburg, Borene and Burnet. In the March 2 election, Berry received more than 35% of the vote while Troxclair garnered 38% of the vote, according to the Texas Secretary of State website.
Berry was among the 19 Austin Police Department officers indicted in mid-February who were accused of excessive use of force by a Travis County grand jury. That was in connection to the protests following the murder of George Floyd and the controversial shooting of Micahel Ramos in Austin in 2020.
Following his indictment, Berry went on to deny any wrongdoing and said that an APD internal investigation had "long since cleared" him and the other officers. The Texas House candidate then accused Travis County District Attorney José Garza of using his position as district attorney to influence his campaign.
However, Garza has responded to claims that the DA's office has been biased against police officers.
"Our office investigates and prosecutes any person who causes harm in our community regardless of who causes it," Garza previously said.
According to Berry's campaign page, he is a 14-year senior police officer. His priorities include securing the border, lowering property taxes, supporting police and being "100% pro-life."
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