AUSTIN (KXAN) — During an emergency Austin City Council meeting on Thursday, Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley explained that beginning this week, APD will no longer use bean bag rounds during crowd situations.
When asked about Brad Levi Ayala, the 16-year-old who was shot in the head by a less lethal round at a protest this past weekend, Manley said:
“I will speak to some immediate changes to our deployment to protests this week: and that that the deployment of bean bag ammunition will not be used in a crowd situation. It is still an appropriate tool in other circumstances so it is still approved for use however not in crowd situations.”
The announcement comes after several Austin protesters reported injuries at the hands of bean bag rounds.
Sixteen-year-old Ayala underwent neurological testing after being shot. A video of the Saturday incident showed the teen collapsing after being shot while standing on the berm along Interstate 35 near Eighth Street.
Ayala’s brother spoke at Austin City Council’s virtual meeting on Thursday.
Edwin Ayala told the elected officials and Manley that Brad had just had a birthday — and now he’s in the hospital.
“He was so kind! He still is,” said Edwin Ayala. “He’s in so much pain… We hope he’s going to recover, but we just didn’t know we thought he was going to die.”
“I’ve seen the video where he is standing and it appears as though he is struck in that video that I’ve seen on social media with a less-lethal impact munition in the head, in the forehead,”Manley said on Monday.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old man, Justin Howell, was also hit in the head by APD — putting him in critical condition over the weekend.
This incident was caught on Austin’s HALO camera system, which is designed for APD to monitor events downtown.
At least 366 people are set to speak before Austin City Council’s emergency meeting about APD’s protest policy on Thursday.
Demanding accountability from APD
Protests at APD headquarters on Thursday evening were peaceful, however, some of the chants and behaviors of the protesters were aggressive.
The protest Thursday evening, organized by a group called The Mike Ramos Brigade. The group listed seven different names of people who the brigade claims were victimized over the weekend by APD, suffering a wide range of injuries.
Many protesters called for accountability for the way APD handled themselves over the weekend. Others expressing sympathy for the officers.