AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and Austin Police Association called on Travis County District Attorney José Garza to cease any announcements regarding any prosecuted cases involving Austin Police Department officers until after the Democratic primary and runoffs.
This comes as APA said there could be a statement Thursday or Friday announcing the indictment of a number of officers involved in the 2020 racial injustice protests.
“The district attorney is using this case to drive voters to the polls,” said Ken Casaday, APA president. “He is driving people to vote for a far-left radical ex-city councilman who is running for Congress. Greg Casar did more to ruin the city of Austin through spearheading the defunding of the police movement more than anyone else in the history of the city of Austin, and DA José Garza is following in his footsteps.”
Garza fired back during a Thursday press conference where he announced “multiple indictments” against several Austin police officers.
“There are some people in this community and across the state who insist that there must never be accountability for law enforcement if they break the law,” Garza said. “Some of them have already suggested that our office’s review of the 2020 protests have been biased and that we are targeting police, while letting others off scot-free. That could not be further from the truth.”
A spokesperson for Casar said that, as a council member and now as a Congressional candidate, he (Casar) has no bearing or influence over these cases, and that the timing of this case has been set for over a year.
“If there are officers who have done something wrong we understand, but these officers were only doing what they were told to do with the equipment the city of Austin provided them during those days of the riots,” Casaday said.
In a press release sent from CLEAT, it states that “the timing of these politicized cases is intended to drive up voter turnout during the early voting period of the Democratic primaries for the George Soros anti-police candidates.”
On Thursday afternoon, Garza announced the indictments against several officers suspected of criminal conduct linked to the May 2020 racial injustice protests.
Garza said the special grand jury empaneled to consider the cases has completed its work, but he didn’t say exactly how many APD officers would be officially indicted. The Associated Press reported from sources 19 Austin police officers were indicted on aggravated assault charges over the protests.
Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon responded to the indictments immediately after Garza’s press conference, saying he was “extremely disappointed.”
“While I respect the grand jury process, I am disappointed to hear the DA’s press conference statements regarding anticipated indictments of APD officers related to the 2020 protests,” Chacon said during a press conference Thursday.
Garza explained if indictments are issued, under state law, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office can’t talk about specific ones until the person is booked into the county jail.