Editor’s Note: The video above shows KXAN News Today’s top headlines for May 31, 2023.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Cases for three Austin police officers were presented to a special grand jury last week — and cases for an additional two officers were presented this week — stemming from May 2020 protests in Austin, according to the Austin Police Association.
“The special grand jury issued true bills for all five officers in the riot cases presented over the past few days,” said APA President Thomas Villarreal in an email to members.
In a letter posted to Twitter, the police association wrote “included in these indictments are three officers already facing indictment, as well as two new officers.”
Sources tell KXAN the district attorney presented said three of these cases involve deadly conduct charges.
The attorneys for the two officers whose cases were presented this week were informed on Memorial Day their clients would face the special grand jury on Tuesday morning, according to Villarreal.
KXAN reached out to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to ask if that timeline was customary – and to inquire about the cases in general.
“The business of Travis County Grand Juries is secret, and TCDAO will not be commenting at this time on any potential indictments issued by grand juries,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that instead of honoring the rule of law and focusing on keeping our community safe, the Austin Police Association has chosen yet again to sow discontent and conflict because they are unhappy with oversight decisions made by our community.”
The District Attorney’s office and the APA have clashed on this topic since the fallout after the protests.
“It is disheartening, to say the least, to witness a District Attorney who seems more intent on using their position to advance personal and political agendas rather than seeking genuine justice,” said APA. “The Austin Police Association will continue to support every officer.”
Timeline of officer indictments
The new cases presented come just before the three-year anniversary of the May 31, 2020 protests.
The three-year anniversary also marks the last day that charges could be pursued against officers for their actions on May 31, because of the statute of limitations outlined in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures.
With the exception of specific felony offenses outlined in the code, felony indictments must be presented within three years from the date of the commission of the offense.
“The Austin Police Association will continue to support every officer targeted by this anti-police DA,” said Villarreal in his email to union members.
KXAN will update this story as we get new information about the cases.