Austin Police Monitor

The City of Austin has its own department dedicated to auditing the police force – it’s called the Office of the Police Monitor. It’s supposed to issue an annual report summarizing all the year’s officer-involved shootings, complaints against police and investigations into the department.

But if you go to the Police Monitor’s website, the latest report is from 2012

The backlog is real.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Police Monitor's Office finds racial disparity continued in police activity during 2012.

According to a recent report, almost 1,300 people contacted the independent Monitor’s Office to make a complaint, a decrease of 11 percent from 2011. But concern about racial profiling remains: African-Americans and Hispanics are still more likely to be searched by police, with blacks three times as likely to be searched as whites.

Nasha Lee for KUT News

Every time an Austin police officer shoots their weapon, it triggers a series of investigations.

This year there have been three fatal APD shootings. The latest, July 26, when Police Det. Charles Kleinert shot Larry Jackson Jr.

Trey Shaar, KUT News

Update: Over the weekend, Austin Police identified the man killed as 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. The Austin Police officer who shot him was Detective Charles Kleinert. Kleinert has been an officer for almost 20 years.

APD is looking for a witness who might have seen what happened between Jackson and Kleinert.

Original Story (July 26, 7:58 p.m.): A man is dead after he was shot by an Austin police detective Friday afternoon near the intersection of 34th Street and Shoal Creek Boulevard. Police describe the man only as African American. Police had not yet established his identity. No officer was injured in the incident.

Photo courtesy Texas Dept. of Public Safety; Police image courtesy City of Austin

A meeting was held last night on the May 2011 police shooting death of Byron Carter, a 20-year old African-American killed by Austin police officer Nathan Wagner. 

Wagner shot Carter four times during the incident. According to police and press accounts, Wagner and another officer approached Carter and his 16-year old African-American companion on suspicion the pair were casing cars parked in an area just east of downtown. Carter and his friend (unnamed in reports due to his age) then entered a car and attempted to leave.

Photo courtesy of CityofAustin.org.

Police Monitor's Report Gives APD a Mixed Review

Austin’s police monitor has released an annual report for 2010. The report says complaints filed against APD officers are down. 753 complaints were filed last year compared to 913 in 2009. 

The report says data on traffic stops show police don’t pull people over based on race and ethnicity, but what happens after the stop is different.  African-Americans are almost three times as likely as whites to be searched, while Hispanics are over twice as likely as whites to be searched. Despite the disparity, APD did not find minorities had contraband at a rate significantly higher than whites.

Nathan Bernier / KUT News

Austinites have two chances to meet the finalists for the role of Police Monitor today. At 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m., the four contenders for the job will answer questions at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex. 

The Police Monitor's office takes complaints about police from the public, and offers policy recommendations to the Chief of Police on some matters.  It does not have the authority to investigate police behavior.

Sketch courtesy of Pat Lopez.

Mental Exam Scheduled for Hasan

Bobcat
Photo courtesy of Texas State University-San Marcos

Austin Police Monitor Interviews Today

Oscar Brockett
Photo courtesy of UT Austin's Department of Theatre and Dance.

Oscar Brockett Passes Away

University of Texas at Austin Professor Emeritus and internationally known theater historian Oscar Brockett has passed away.  He died Sunday morning after suffering a stroke.  In the late 60s he wrote “History of the Theatre”.  The website for UT's Department of Theatre and Dance says: