Austin City Council special meeting on police protests continues

Austin Protests
Scene from Austin protests 5-31-20

Photo: Frank Martinez/KXAN

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Council reconvened Friday morning to continue its discussion on the Austin Police Department’s use of force.

Two Austin City Council members called for the resignation of the city’s police chief, Brian Manley, over his department’s response to police brutality protests. Those included Council Member Greg Casar and Jimmy Flannigan.

On Thursday, Police Chief Brian Manley said that his officers will no longer use bean bags in crowd control situations.

Over the weekend, protests in downtown Austin got tense. Police fired bean-bag rounds into the crowds and used smoke and tear gas. Two protesters were badly injured when police shot them in the head with the bean-bag rounds. Videos of the shootings and unconscious protesters went viral nationwide.

On Thursday, Austin City Council members held an emergency meeting to look into protocols and practices that the Austin Police Department used during the protests.

More than 360 people signed up to speak during the virtual meeting. Many of the speakers shred their own experiences, and the family of 16-year-old Brad Levi Ayala gave emotional comments. He was one of the two people badly injured. His family says he has a long recovery ahead. Twenty-year-old Justin Howell was also shot in the head. He remains in critical condition.

Chief Manley said while officers will no longer use the bean-bag rounds for crowd control, he believes they are still appropriate in other situations.

Live Updates from reporter John Engel

Read KXAN John Engel’s full report on the meeting here.

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