Austin Police

Austin
9:16 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/15/12: Another Round of APD Lab Questions, Crime Victim Funds Cut

Another allegation has been levied at the Austin Police Department's crime lab.
Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News

Austin Crime Lab Receives Second Complaint

As reported by The Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Police Department's crime lab has received a second complaint. The complaint comes from an independent lab in North Texas claiming it received different results than the Austin lab when testing the same evidence. 

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Austin
11:44 am
Tue February 14, 2012

At Town Hall on Byron Carter Shooting, More Questions Than Answers

Byron Carter's police shooting death has re-ignited controversy regarding Austin Police and the African-American community.
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.

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Transportation
3:23 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Austin Makes Another Top Ten List: Most Speed Traps

A screenshot from Trapster, a mobile application that maps speed traps.
Image courtesy trapster.com

Here in Austin, we’re used to appearing in a ton of Top 10 lists.

But here’s one honor we might not be too excited about: Austin has been named one of ten American cities with the most speed traps.

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Austin
12:06 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Outside Review Coming for Yogurt Shop Murders?

Public Safety Commission vice chair Kim Rossmo is asking whether police need an outside review of four 1991 murders at an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt shop.

Austin’s infamous Yogurt Shop Murders may be getting a fresh set of eyes.

The 1991 crime – the assault and murder of four young Austin women at an I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! shop in north Austin, which was then set ablaze – has never been solved.

In 1999, Austin Police arrested four suspects in connection with the crime: Robert Springsteen, Michael Scott, Maurice Pierce, and Forrest Wellborn. Charges were dropped against the latter two suspects. Springsteen and Scott were convicted but ultimately released after a DNA swab from one of the victims – not originally available in 1991– confirmed the existence of an unknown suspect the police have been unable to identify.

However, the District Attorney’s office have continued to treat Springsteen and Scott as prime suspects. When the DNA evidence was released in 2009, D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg told The Austin Chronicle the new evidence “does not exonerate anybody."

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Austin
7:43 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Suspect in Esme Barrera Murder Identified, Dead

James Loren Brown, left; and a police sketch of a suspect in a seemingly connected assault, right.

At a hastily called press conference this afternoon, the Austin Police Department confirmed they had a suspect in the New Year’s murder of Esme Barrera, a widely known, well-liked member of Austin’s music community.

They also said that their suspect, James Loren Brown, is dead, apparently of a suicide.

The Austin Chronicle reports more details:

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Education
10:03 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Manor High School Evacuated, Bomb Squad On Scene (Updated)

Update: The following announcement is posted on the Manor ISD website:

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Austin
8:47 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Austin Police Crime Lab Under the Spotlight, Again

Photo by KUT News

The Austin Police Department crime lab is getting another round of scrutiny.

The Travis County District Attorney’s office announced yesterday they referred allegations of sloppy work at APD’s crime lab to the Texas Department of Public Safety and local criminal defense attorneys for review.

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Austin
4:54 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

How is Social Media Affecting the Esme Barrera Investigation?

Handmade wanted posters like this one have been posted around campus-area neighborhoods.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The shock and disbelief at Esme Barrera’s murder early New Year’s Day – shared in a stream of social media updates – is giving way to questions about the police investigation.

As the young and vibrant Barrera was friends with dozens, if not hundreds in Austin’s close-knit music scene and beyond (including, I should note, this reporter), the news of her death spread rapidly over Facebook and Twitter.

But while many posts are links to tributes and fundraising initiatives, many others are pointedly questioning the Austin Police Department’s response that morning, and the subsequent manhunt.

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Austin
8:31 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Confusion and Sadness After Band Camp Counselor’s Murder

Photo courtesy of http://forouresmeb.blogspot.com

The death of 29-year-old Esme Barrera has prompted a public outpouring of grief as family, friends and members of Austin’s music community come to terms with her unexplained murder. Barrera was found dead inside her home on King Street around 3 a.m. on January 1, according to KXAN, after ringing in the New Year at the 29th Street Ballroom & Spider House just a few blocks away.

University of Texas police have released a composite sketch of a man believed to be responsible for at least one other sexual assault in that area early Sunday morning. 

"We do not know yet if the three incidents are related, but we are releasing information on all three incidents in hopes of alerting the public and also receiving information from the public," UT police said in an alert issued Monday night. 

UT police describe the suspect as:

  • Black Male
  • Aged 30 to 40
  • Approximately 6″, muscular build
  • Large, dark brown eyes
  • Last seen wearing a grey hooded jacket over dark-colored t-shirt and blue jeans

You can report information at APD's Homicide Tip Line at 512-477-3588 or Crimestoppers at 512-472-TIPS.

Barrera was active in Austin’s music community. She was a Girls Rock Camp Austin counselor and mentored bands. She was a regular at Waterloo Records, which posted the single word, “Heartbroken” on its Facebook page early this morning.

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police
12:43 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

APD Chief Delays Disciplinary Action Against Officer

Local civil rights activists want Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo to fire Nathan Wagner, an APD officer who shot and killed 20-year old Byron Carter, Jr. May 2011. Carter was a passenger in a car that struck and injured a police officer. The teen driver was shot in the arm but survived.

Chief Acevedo has 180-days from the incident to make a decision. That deadline is Saturday. Acevedo today notified the State Attorney General that he is delaying a disciplinary decision until a criminal investigation into Wagner’s actions is completed.

In a press release, Acevedo said the delay was intended to protect “the ongoing criminal investigation and the integrity of the criminal justice process."

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public safety
2:16 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Jaywalking Crackdown Reaps More Than 200 Citations So Far

Every dot on this map represents a location where at least three collisions have occurred between pedestrians and vehicles since 2008. For the purpose of this map, cyclists are counted as pedestrians. The data was compiled by the Austin Police Department and placed on a map by KUT News.

Austin police have issued more than 200 jaywalking citations as part of a two-week crackdown that runs through Saturday. APD’s Highway Enforcement Command says it launched the campaign because of a high number of pedestrian deaths: 17 so far this year, compared to 7 in 2010.

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Transportation
3:44 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

Harsher DWI Penalties For “No Refusal” Labor Day Weekend

Photo by Renee Silverman http://www.flickr.com/photos/reneesilverman/

People pulled over for suspected drunk driving over the Labor Day weekend may have their blood forcibly withdrawn by Austin police officers. It’s part of the so-called “No Refusal” policy that APD conducts over long weekends.

But this weekend, a new law will increase penalties for first-time offenders with a blood alcohol level of 0.15, almost double the legal limit of 0.08.

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Sunday Roundup
9:14 am
Sun August 21, 2011

Sunday Morning Roundup

Gov. Rick Perry greets supporters at a Lake Austin restaurant in his first Texas appearance since announcing his run for the White House
Photo by Justin Dehn for the Texas Tribune

Students have reached summer's end, though you couldn't tell by the weather.  The beginning of school year brings changes in some Capital Metro bus schedules. That includes the elimination of three bus routes that circulated MetroRail passengers throughout downtown from the Austin Convention Center.

Rick Perry Returns to Texas

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Austin
10:29 am
Tue August 16, 2011

APD Investigating After Two Cops Fired Guns in Foot Chase

The scene at the Bel Air Motel yesterday as officers investigated a robbery and weapon discharge by two cops.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Austin Police Department launched a formal investigation after two police officers fired their weapons at a robbery suspect yesterday afternoon. APD Chief Art Acevedo says it started when a man allegedly robbed a gas station on South Congress near Pickle Rd.

"The first shooting was right here, just south of the Bel Air Motel, on the west side of South Congress," Acevedo said in a news conference near the crime scene. 

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Austin
10:28 am
Mon August 8, 2011

Austin Police Department Introduces the Real Time Crime Center

Police in the new Real Time Crime Center will be able to connect officers on the street with databases at police headquarters.
Photo by Kelsey Sheridan for KUT News

The Austin Police Department is implementing a new strategy to fight crime.

The Real Time Crime Center, a room filled with computers and TV screens at the police headquarters, will allow officers to monitor police radio traffic 24 hours a day and provide more information on handling a scene before officers arrive.

APD Commander Troy Gay, who's in charge of the new center, told KUT News that it was a "force multiplier"

"They’re almost like an extension of patrol," he said. "They’re watching what patrol is doing and then providing additional information at that time."

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Austin
10:49 am
Mon August 1, 2011

45th Anniversary of UT Shooting Marked With Dedication Ceremony

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Texas Tower shootings. The Austin Police Association is dedicating a hall in their new facilities to the people who helped that day.
Photo for KUT News

The Austin Police Association is holding a ceremony to dedicate a hall in their new facility to the people who worked to restore safety during the Texas Tower shooting. Today is the 45th anniversary of the shooting.

The shooter, Charles Whitman, was a student at the University of Texas. A former Marine who grew up with an abusive father, he admitted to killing his mother and his wife in a suicide note.

The next day, Whitman began shooting people from the top of the Texas Tower with a sniper rifle. He climbed up to the top of the tower with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, water and food supplies.

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Austin
4:59 pm
Sat July 23, 2011

APD Reaches Out to North Austin Community

The Austin Police Department hosted an event near Rundberg as a part of their outreach efforts launched this summer.
Erika Aguilar, KUT News

Austin Police say they are trying to get to know the Rundberg and North Austin community better. The department invited residents to a meet-and-greet event Saturday in the Northgate Boulevard area.

Austin Police say crime in the neighborhood is higher than other parts of Austin, but is often not reported.

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Austin
11:08 am
Mon June 20, 2011

UTPD Training at Wooldridge Hall

First responders will use UT's Wooldridge Hall as a training facility this week.
Photo by Katrina Tollin for KUT news.

If you see uniformed emergency response teams around the University of Texas' Wooldridge Hall this week, don't worry. The U.T Police Department and other Central Texas first responders will use the vacant building for training exercises through Thursday.

Sergeant Scott Weyland said UTPD tries to train in an empty building when one is scheduled for demolition, usually about once a year. Weyland says this week’s training will focus on “active-shooter” scenarios, including suicide-bomber and hostage situations.

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ROT Rally
10:08 am
Mon June 13, 2011

APD Make 37 DWI Arrests Over ROT Rally Weekend

Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

The Austin Police Department held another “No Refusal” weekend on Friday and Saturday nights, meaning officers can request a warrant to draw blood by force if a driver refuses a breathalyzer. It was the first time during the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally that APD implemented the policy. Last year, there were three alcohol-related fatal motorcycle accidents during the ROT Rally.

Here are the numbers from APD:

There were a total of 37 DWI's over the No refusal weekend.

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Austin
11:22 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Downtown Police Cameras Delayed Until October

Surveillance cameras atop the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. Like these camera's, APD's system will have powerful zoom capabilities.
Photo by Chris-Håvard Berge http://www.flickr.com/photos/chberge/

The Austin Police Department had planned to install 23 crime surveillance cameras downtown by the end of March this year. But that date has now been pushed back until October, in part because APD wanted to wait for the firm with which it is contracting to upgrade its video surveillance technology.

“It’s like the commercial where the guy buys the 3D TV, and then the truck pulls up with the sign saying, ‘New 4D TV,” Austin police commander Troy Gay told KUT News. “We want to make sure that we’ve got at least the most current of today, so we’re not automatically a year or two obsolete.”

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