Encampment at Austin ‘autonomous zone’ still there Friday despite orders to leave

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — As of Friday morning, the encampment at Rosewood Park in east Austin is still there despite orders to leave by Thursday.

Those at the camp say it’s a call for anarchy to protest a recent deadly police shooting.

“We’re not leaving,” organizer Njera Keith told KXAN earlier in the week. “We’ve let it be known from the beginning.”

Keith co-founded the Austin-based activist group called 400+1. He says the Austin Police Department is not telling the full story about the death of 21-year-old Jordan Walton. Police say Walton crashed his Jeep into a home at Rogge Lane and Manor Road, then broke into a neighboring home.

Police say officers shot and killed Walton when he fired his gun and then tried to use a child as a human shield.

Austin Parks and Recreation workers posted a notice on Wednesday warning the group it had one day to leave the park. That came and went Thursday with no action by the city.

  • Notice to Vacate at Rosewood Neighborhood Park (KXAN/Jacqulyn Powell)

“We recognize and honor the right to peaceful protest but this group’s campsite is in violation of City ordinances and is preventing the public from using portions of Rosewood Park,” the city said in a statement Thursday.

Keith and his fellow co-founder Kristina Brown said they are willing to put their “bodies on the line to make that point clear” that they aren’t going anywhere.

When KXAN reporter Jacqulyn Powell asked in an on-camera interview what might happen if police show up to enforce the city’s order to vacate Thursday, Keith said, “I think it would be unwise for us to say exactly what that would look like, as I’m sure the police will also watch this.”

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