AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Steve Adler addressed questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and Austin police’s response to protesters during the Texas Democratic Convention on Saturday.
Beginning with the state’s response to the pandemic, Adler expressed concerns about Austin and Travis County’s increase in cases. He said while he hopes area businesses will continue to be able reopen, he’s worried about the speed in which many have already reopened, without adequate time to test how the reopenings are affecting case numbers.
Adler said he’s in close contact with the same doctors and scientists regularly briefing Governor Greg Abbott. He said he’s been informed that if Austin reaches a daily average of 20 new hospitalizations per day within a seven day period, that will be a trigger both locally and the state level. He said he’s hopeful that if Austin-Travis County gets to that point, the governor will partner with local leaders in response.
When asked about APD’s response to local protests and Police Chief Brian Manley’s response, the mayor said he’s disappointed with the Austin Police response to protests so far.
Adler said he sees the need for change in the current model of policing, mentioning that he’s not sure whether armed officers should be pulling people over for traffic stops. Adler said the role of policing in the local community may need some changes.
When asked if he thinks Chief Manley should resign following that request from three city council members, Adler said Austin needs leaders who embrace potential changes in local police modeling.
He said as the city has conversations about how to move in that direction, Manley is a part of them. Adler said the city needs to see how those conversations go.