It’s undeniable at this point that 2020 was an incredibly rough year for police officers and law enforcement personnel just about everywhere in the U.S. However, for some, that time of chaos and turbulence didn’t just end when the race-fueled riots of that summer began to wane.
Neither did it fade when the subsequent “defund the police” movements that began that year were found to be problematic – at least not in places like Austin, Texas. Here, those who fought long and hard to serve and protect are still being criticized and lambasted for just doing their job.
If you didn’t know, Austin has become an increasingly liberal city in the past few years. In fact, they even voted in an avowed socialist as their district attorney.
But as the Austin American-Statesman reported on Thursday, that progressive DA just might have overstepped his bounds when he recently indicted no less than 19 police officers, charging them with using “excessive force” against protesters while holding the line in May of 2020 when a particularly nasty and days-long riot besieged the city.
According to the outlet, “The state grand jury indictment is tied to allegations of excessive force during protests in the city in May 2020 following officer-involved deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Michael Ramos a month prior in Austin. More than three dozen people went to the hospital for treatment from their sustained injuries.”
However, regardless of the many injuries and hospitalizations that took place during that time, few in the city believe these officers actually did anything wrong.
Take Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon, for instance.
When leftist DA, Jose Garza, announced his decision to indict the 19 officers, Chacon said he was “extremely disappointed.” He even held a press conference on the subject, telling the people of Austin that he didn’t believe such treatment of his officers was warranted.
Well, for starters, they were put smack dab in the middle of a nearly impossible situation with no form of backup or help whatsoever. Chacon noted that the riots were the worst that most in the city had likely ever seen, and these officers alone stood in the way of destruction and even more chaos.
Additionally, the officers were widely unprepared, which was not their fault. As Chacon explained, they were sent in with the knowledge that things could get out of hand and quickly, as hundreds of protesters were likely to be present. However, instead of hundreds, “they faced thousands, placing them in potentially the worst possible circumstances to manage escalating crowds.”
Those crowds were also exceptionally violent. The police chief noted that these men and women weren’t just hurling insults. Instead, they chucked frozen water bottles, rocks, and even commercial-grade fireworks at these officers. As you can imagine, it wasn’t just citizens who sustained injuries.
Beyond that, the “less-lethal” weapons and munitions they were given did little if anything to help their cause. As Chacon said, they “did not perform (in) all instances in the manner anticipated.” So not only was there no backup to assist these officers but their weapons of a softer nature became useless against the masses determined to cut them down and terrorize the city.
The former Austin Police Chief, Art Acevedo, was also critical of the indictments, saying it was just another move by an “activist DA who is more interested in coddling violent criminals” rather than punishing them.
Austin City Manager Spence Cronk also disagrees with the decision. As he explains, not only does he believe it is the wrong choice in these circumstances, but it will do much to cause the already taxed Austin Police Force even more anxiety and staffing shortages.
Then again, Garza made it quite clear when he ran for his seat that he would be rather soft on crime in comparison to his predecessors, choosing to end “low-level” drug prosecutions and hold police officers accountable for any and all “misconduct.” And this move is certainly proving that he meant what he said.
While we might not have a problem with Garza keeping his campaign promises, we certainly shouldn’t be proud of his willingness to leave Austin’s city to defend itself against criminals who might do them harm. Neither should we commend his apparent belief that those criminals should be given precedence over those who have taken an oath to uphold our laws.