Neighborhood Network

April 28, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

An officer-involved shooting in Austin last Friday evening ended tragically. Yesterday, social justice activists demanded the removal of Police Chief Brian Manley, Assistant Chief Troy Gay, and Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano.

The Greater Austin Crime Commission released the following statement:

“Rather than rushing to judgment, the Greater Austin Crime Commission urges the Austin City Council to support an expeditious and thorough investigation of the officer-involved shooting last Friday. A concerned community deserves all the relevant facts about the incident. The demand to remove public safety officials without an investigation exploits a tragedy to advance political objectives.

“In addition to investigations by the District Attorney and Office of Police Oversight, the Greater Austin Crime Commission supports Chief Brian Manley’s request for assistance from the Texas Rangers.

“The Greater Austin Crime Commission and its board of business and community leaders have full confidence in Chief Brian Manley, public safety leaders, and the dedicated officers and staff of the Austin Police Department.”

Last week, the Greater Austin Crime Commission sent a letter to Travis County officials in response to concerns raised by social justice activists about jail conditions. We support the efforts of Travis County criminal justice and law enforcement officials to reduce the jail population responsibly. The actions taken by judges, prosecutors, and the sheriff were prudent precautions during this public health crisis.

At the time the letter was sent, the daily population of the Travis County jail and correctional complex had decreased 22 percent from March 16 (2,164 inmates) to April 21 (1,686 inmates). Of the inmates in custody on April 21, more than 89 percent (1,503 of 1,686) were charged with felonies.

The charges filed against those who remained in custody on April 21, 2020, included assault (469), burglary (87), controlled substances (193), DUI/DWI (110) homicide (48), kidnapping (8), robbery (48), sexual offenses (57), stolen vehicles (32), and theft (22).

On April 17, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk released the independent investigation into anonymous complaints alleging the use of racist language in the Austin Police Department.

The Greater Austin Crime Commission released the following statement:

“After an independent and thorough investigation into allegations concerning a former Austin Police Department assistant chief, a 46-page report released today revealed no policy violations.

“The Greater Austin Crime Commission has full confidence in Chief Brian Manley and the dedicated officers and staff of the Austin Police Department. We commend Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk for his timely decisions to ensure an extensive outside investigation.

“While the independent investigation answers many questions, we know that the police department is committed to implementing operational and training improvements. The report does outline actions Chief Manley could have taken earlier regarding the allegations, which he acknowledged at the time and will guide future decisions.

“During the pandemic, the role of first responders is even more important and visible. We urge the community to continue to support the Austin Police Department as we work together to recover during this extraordinary time.”

Encourage family and friends to join the Neighborhood Network of public safety advocates. It takes less than a minute to sign up.

Stay safe and well.