AUSTIN (KXAN) — Four Austin Police Department officers associated with the use-of-force cases in the May 2020 protests appeared in court Monday for the first time in months.
In mid-February, a Travis County special grand jury indicted 19 Austin Police officers on aggravated assault by a public servant charges for their alleged involvement during the racial injustice protests in May 2020.
Stanley Vick, Justin Berry, Joshua Jackson and Joseph Cast’s pre-trial hearings Monday were set to occur in Judge Julie Kocurek’s courtroom, however Kocurek was not on the bench overseeing these cases.
On April 26, Kocurek filed an order of voluntary recusal for each of these four cases after court records filed by Travis County District Attorney José Garza claimed Kocurek told an assistant district attorney over the phone she believed prosecution of the officers came as the result of a “politically motivated campaign” from Garza.
In June, Judge Sid Harle was assigned to oversee these four cases, replacing Kocurek, according to court records.
Harle has served as the presiding judge of the Fourth Administrative Judicial Region since 2017, and was reappointed by Governor Greg Abbott for another four year term, according to the Office of the Texas Governor.
Prior to Abbott’s appointment, Harle served over 29 years as the presiding Judge of the 226th Judicial District Court in Bexar County.