AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, Travis County District Attorney José Garza announced there would be “multiple indictments” issued in the days ahead for law enforcement officers suspected of criminal conduct during the May 2020 racial injustice protests.
While the names of the officers indicted have not been released, Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association said there is a 99.9% chance Justin Berry will be indicted.
Berry is seeking the GOP nomination in the March first primary election for Texas House District 19.
When KXAN asked to speak to Berry about the possible indictment, he told us he could not speak until he was “booked in.”
Berry did publish a statement on Twitter saying in part: “DA Garza is now using his office to try to influence my election. The timing is not just suspect, it is obvious. the riot was two years ago, and he times his indictments of officers two weeks before the election.”
He finishes the statement by saying: “The question is not how this prosecution will turn out. We will be acquitted. The question is: When police are treated like this, who will want to become police officers?”
“The incident he was involved in involved a lot of different officers,” said Casaday.
We reached out to the DA’s office and the Austin Police Department for the names of the officers, but have not heard back.
Multiple indictments forthcoming
Earlier this month, KXAN learned from an attorney several APD officers could be indicted by a grand jury related to excessive use-of-force cases from the protests, spurred by the deaths of George Floyd and Mike Ramos. Those cases fall under the Travis County DA Civil Rights Unit.
Casaday confirmed to KXAN Thursday 19 officers were going to be indicted.
Garza explained if indictments are issued, under state law, the DA’s office can’t talk about specific ones until the person is booked into the county jail.
Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon responded immediately after the district attorney’s press conference on Thursday, saying he’s “extremely disappointed” in the announcement of the indictments.
Austin Police confirmed to KXAN Friday the officers who were indicted would be placed on administrative leave.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.