AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Office of Police Oversight sent 82 vetted complaints to Austin Police Dept. Internal Affairs, submitted by protesters who believe officers violated department policy during police brutality protests. APD will decide if those complaints are investigated.
Farah Muscadin, director of the Office of Police Oversight, said her office has received numerous calls, emails, and online submissions from protesters claiming officers went too far during protests over the weekend.
It’s unclear how many of those vetted complaints will be investigated by APD, since Internal Affairs has the ability to review complaints before an investigation is launched.
“That’s a sticky point between the Office of Police Oversight and the police department,” Muscadin said. “We believe that should automatically lead to an investigation. The police department disagrees.
Muscadin is calling on APD Chief Brian Manley to initiate automatic investigations of vetted complaints by Internal Affairs, saying it’s necessary to develop trust with the community.
“Complaints from the community should carry the most weight,” she said.
The Travis County district attorney is calling on citizens who believe their rights were violated during police brutality protests in Austin over the weekend to file complaints with the Office of Police Oversight.
The statement from Margaret Moore comes one day after Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said several protesters were hurt, including a 20-year-old man who was struck in the head with a less-than-lethal round and a pregnant woman who was reportedly shot in the stomach with a similar round.
An Austin police officer shot a 16-year-old boy in the head with a “less-lethal” bean-bag round on Saturday. Video of the incident showed the teen collapsing.
Manley said several incidents are being reviewed which will include investigations by the department’s special investigations unit and internal affairs.
“There have been many graphic photos which appear to depict peaceful protesters being attacked by officers,” Moore said in a statement. “If you feel your rights have been violated by a police officer, please file an official complaint with the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) in order to initiate a formal investigation. The OPO provides impartial oversight of the Austin Police Department and its officers.”
Here’s how to file an official complaint with the OPO.
Moore announced earlier this week that the death of Mike Ramos, who was shot by APD in April, will be presented to a special grand jury.