AUSTIN (KXAN) - The 2009 fatal shooting of Nathaniel Sanders by an Austin police officer is only one example of the tension that has been festering for years between police and East Austin's minority communities.
Thursday's $750,000 settlement with the Sanders family and a separate $175,000 settlement with the victim's friend who was wounded by police gunfire on May 11,2009, will likely help alleviate some of the bitter feelings, but some resentment still lingers.
"It's great news, great news, said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP. "Good for the community, good for the city. I think we can now go forward."
And the longtime civil right leader said he's sensing a culture change within the police department.
"Absolutely. Under this chief (Art Acevedo) they've made a lot of progress," Linder said. "But a lot of work remains to be done."
Many in east Austin are happy the family got the money, that it is some sense of justice. But most are quick to point out that no amount of money can replace a life. And there is still distrust with APD.
"The way police are trained, they are trained to kill," said Jafus Walker in an interview on East 12th Street. "Either way you look at it -- if you're wrong you're going to get shot, if you're right you might get shot."
At the Walnut Creek Apartments, a memorial still remains where Sanders was shot. Resident Wendy Brown was asked if this settlement eases tensions between police and the community.
"Yes it does," she said. "It says justice is done. The family must feel excited, overwhelmed."
Another resident, Cora Baker, remembers that night.
"It was like 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. and you just heard pow, pow, pow, pow," Baker said. "When I looked out my window there were policemen everywhere."
Asked if the settlement eases tensions, Baker said, "Maybe a little bit."
"But it wasn't enough. My heart goes out to the family." she said, "Maybe they'll do something with the APD. They're hunting hispanics and blacks. You'll never hear of that in a white neighborhood."
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