AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Justice Coalition hosted a news conference Saturday to discuss the deadly officer-involved shooting on South Pleasant Valley Road Friday night.
The Austin Justice Coalition, is a grassroots, activists-led organization addressing criminal justice reform as well as economic and social justice at the local level.
According to Austin Police Department, officers reported to the 2600 block of South Pleasant Valley Road around 6:32 p.m. after a caller said they saw people in a car doing drugs — one of whom reportedly had a gun in his hands.
The suspect was shot and killed after getting into his car and trying to drive away from the scene, according to police.
“This senseless shooting could have been avoided. There are multiple videos and multiple angles of different videos that shows [the suspect] , maybe not quietly, but he was asking the cops one, what was going on and then two, could they put the guns down. He said that multiple times from the things that we saw,” said AJC Executive Director and Founder Chas Moore.
“I think it’s very important to realize that this senseless shooting comes on the heels of a scathing report that proved that this police department has fundamental issues and flaws in the areas of sexism, racism and almost any other ‘ism’ known in our society.”
Moore was referring to a memo released by the City of Austin detailing the investigation and findings into claims of racism and homophobia within the Austin Police Department. The investigation, led by San Antonio lawyer Lisa Tatum, looked into a number of complaints filed with Austin’s Office of Police Oversight.
“While investigators never found that particular smoking gun, their report is packed with plenty of other bombshells, including evidence of racism, failed leadership, cronyism, and a prevailing fear of retaliation that keeps would-be whistle blowers silent,” said Austin City Council member Natasha Harper-Madison during a virtual conference between city leaders held to discuss the investigation.
During Saturday’s virtual news conference Moore also touched upon the fact that the officer-involved shooting took place during a global pandemic that has essentially altered the way the world operates.
“How is it that while people are worrying about dying from a disease that is evolving and transforming every day, if you are black and or brown you still have to worry about police brutality,” said Moore. “I think it goes to show that the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing compared to the epidemic of police brutality against black and brown bodies in this country and I will say globally.”