CLEAT calls for removal of Travis County assistant DA over email, job posting for law enforcement prosecutor


AUSTIN (KXAN) — An email about a job posting for the Travis County District Attorney’s unit that investigates and prosecutes unlawful use of force by officers got the attention of the state’s largest law enforcement organization Sunday.

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas Executive Director Charley Wilkison is calling for the first assistant DA’s removal in response to an email and posting that he says is an attack on Central Texas law enforcement.

“We call on [DA Jose Garza] today to immediately remove his assistant district attorney, who either by accident or on purpose showed the true colors of this governmental office, which should be seeking facts related to criminal conduct,” said Wilkison in a video response posted to YouTube.

A press release, issued by CLEAT, includes a screenshot of an email First Assistant District Attorney Trudy Strassburger sent, which states that the office is seeking to add another person to their Civil Rights Unit.

“This kind of didactic language is for activists and not for the benign prosecutorial powers that reside inside the wall of an elected district attorney,” says Wilkison in the video response.

KXAN has asked for the Travis County District Attorney’s office to confirm that email was sent.

The online job post says the team’s main purpose is to “investigate and prosecute unlawful use of force by law enforcement in situations of officer involved shootings, deaths in custody and less than lethal uses of force, and also prosecutes officers who have used excessive force.”

The Civil Rights Unit started before Garza was elected and is composed of three attorneys. He says they’re hiring a team lead to help address a backlog and an increasing volume of police misconduct in the community, which includes 11 pending indictments.

“Just this year Travis County Grand Juries, who are made up of our community, family and friends have concluded that seven law enforcement should be charged with felony crimes, including acts of violence like murder and aggravated assault,” Garza tells KXAN. “I hope that they will join us and seek to root out criminal conduct particularly acts of violence committed by members of their organizations.”

Wilkison says Garza’s office is conflicted by personal opinions and beliefs, and the DA should focus on finding prosecutors who follow the facts and seek the truth.

“There’s not a thing we won’t do for you to be treated fairly in a workplace regardless of the political winds that blow,” says Wilkison in the video, addressing the officers the organization represents.

Garza ran on a platform of fully prosecuting any police officer who is not justified in using excessive or lethal force.

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