Protests over police violence took place Sunday despite the formal cancellation of the event. Protesters shut down I-35, and police used tear gas and rubber bullets.
Late in the afternoon, Michael Ramos' mother, Brenda, spoke at a press conference outside her apartment complex.
"Why is Officer [Christopher] Taylor still drawing a paycheck from us, the citizens of Austin?" she asked, pulling down her mask so she could speak. "Why are we paying his salary when he murdered my son over a month ago and he murdered someone else's son over 10 months ago? Why isn't he in jail?"
Despite the formal cancelation of Sunday's protest at the Texas State Capitol, hundreds of people gathered along 11th Street and marched to Austin City Hall and back. Some shut down I-35 for the second day in a row, and Austin police used tear gas and beanbag rounds in an effort to move people off the roadway.
Tear gas and rubber bullets get shot to disperse crowd from highway. https://t.co/ffchePzSKV— Thee Environmental Reportréss (@Thee Environmental Reportréss)1590959385.0
The police form a line on Cesar Chavez, stopping demonstrators marching from City Hall. s3.amazonaws.com
Police allow protestors to turn north on San Antonio toward Republic Square. s3.amazonaws.com
Update 5/31 11:21 a.m.:
Chas Moore, executive director of the Austin Justice Coalition, announced on Facebook live that the organization would cancel the protest planned for Sunday at the Texas State Capitol.
"We are supposed to be out demonstrating, peacefully protesting the need for safety and for freedom and liberation for black people," Moore said. "And when I look at what's going on in Austin, when I look at the mess that happened last night, I look at white people burning stuff up in the name of Black Lives Matter and there's little to no black lives at these events."
Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency on Sunday in response to the protests.
Update 5/31 11:10 a.m.
Another protest is planned for the Texas State Capitol grounds on Sunday, with organizers calling for peaceful demonstrations.
Austin Police Department officers will be working 12-hour shifts for the indefinite future, the CBS Austin reports, and all have been called into work.
Mayor Steve Adler said in an emailed statement sent Sunday morning that he would not attend the protest. "I want to stand with others to recognize that only a 'just' city is a safe one," he wrote. "I also know that especially large gatherings still present great risk of spreading the virus in ways that would be hard to tract, isolate and control."
Update 5/30 11:28 p.m.
Target said it would temporarily close some stores nationwide, including at least three in Austin.
The protest started with hundreds outside the Austin police headquarters, moved to the highway and grew even larger as it made its way to the Texas State Capitol.
#austin #MikeRamos Hundreds more protestors coming from the west on 8th street. https://t.co/RojNptRldx— austonia (@austonia)1590864321.0
#austin #MikeRamos Clearing damp w horses https://t.co/YmGcau2ut2— austonia (@austonia)1590863203.0
Crowd@moving south I35 both lanes. Southbound lane clear of cars Northbound cars slowly moving https://t.co/SPk0TRudTl— austonia (@austonia)1590861555.0
It is not the first protest of the weekend, nor will it be the last.
Police in Austin made several arrests at a protest that took place last night and early this morning outside Austin Police Department headquarters downtown, KXAN reports.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who yesterday said the Floyd killing was "horrific" and "a consequence of poor police work," announced today he had spoke to the mayors of major cities in Texas—including Austin—and had "sent state resources" to help manage protests.
Another protest is planned tomorrow at the Texas State Capitol.
Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore announced last night that the office will convene a special grand jury to consider the Ramos case.
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Austin and the Cybertruck: Tesla eyes Texas, home of the pickup, for Elon Musk's latest unique creation
Cybertruck<p>The vehicle features "a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton" made of stainless steel, "vault-like storage" and an "ability to pull near infinite mass," according to the company's website.<br></p><p>Now available for preorder, production of the Cybertruck is expected to begin in late 2022. The price ranges from $39,900 to $69,900, depending on the motor type, with a self-driving add-on available for $8,000.</p><p>When Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Cybertruck on Nov. 21 at an event in Los Angeles, it prompted much feedback on its design.</p>
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Austin's COVID-19 fatality drops as treatment improves, testing expands, cases among young people rise
The mortality rate for COVID-19 patients—defined as reported deaths per confirmed cases—in Austin has dropped from 3.6% at the end of April to 1.8% on June 22, a decrease that the city attributes both to better treatments and to a rising number of cases among young people, who are more likely to recover.
Travis County COVID-19 mortality by age<div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2950699" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/2950699/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div><p>Austin Public Health began offering its free service to residents regardless of symptoms on June 5, following mass protests against police brutality, and many residents have taken advantage of the opportunity.</p><p>Between June 15-21, more than 3,000 people were tested by APH, up from 2,400 the week prior.</p><p>More testing means the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is closer to the actual number—and the death toll is proportionally smaller.</p><p>Dr. DeVry Anderson, chief medical officer of St. David's South Austin Medical Center, said the falling mortality rate is also due to <a href="https://austonia.com/Coronavirus/austin-coronavirus-hospitals/higher-exposure-for-health-care-workers" target="_self"><u>better treatment options</u></a> for COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized.</p><p><span></span>These treatments include:</p><ul><li>convalescent plasma therapy</li><li>the antiviral drug remdesivir</li><li>improved ventilator management</li></ul><p>Another development is that doctors are more familiar with how to treat COVID-19 patients than they were in early March.</p><p>"Having physicians and staff that have gotten, not comfortable, but now understand how to treat and care for these patients, I think it's seamless in the way we transition those [patients] to higher levels of care," Dr. Anderson said.</p>
Travis County COVID-19 mortality by race<div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2950719" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/2950719/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div><p>Deaths also vary by race and ethnicity, with a larger proportion of Black and Hispanic residents who contract COVID-19 dying from it.</p>
Travis County COVID-19 mortality by ethnicity<div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/2950729" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/2950729/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div>
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Austin Mayor Steve Adler issued a "Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe" order, effective from noon today until Aug. 15, requiring all individuals to wear masks and social distance. The order prohibits outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday requiring all Texans to wear masks "over the nose and mouth" in public spaces. It applies to counties with at least 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases and reverses the governor's previous policies.
Exceptions<p>The governor's order provides some exceptions to the mask mandate, including:</p><ul><li>People who are under 10 years old or have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask.</li><li>While eating, exercising outside, swimming, voting or driving alone or with a member of the same household.</li></ul><div>See a full list of the exceptions <a href="https://open.texas.gov/uploads/files/organization/opentexas/EO-GA-29-use-of-face-coverings-during-COVID-19-IMAGE-07-02-2020.pdf" target="_blank">here</a>.</div>
A reversal<p>This order represents a reversal for Abbott, who previously refused local jurisdictions the right to mandate masks and limit gatherings despite repeated pleas that he do so.</p><p>Earlier this week, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe <a href="https://austonia.com/Coronavirus/austin-surge-" target="_self">sent Abbott a letter</a> asking the state to enforce mandatory masking, prohibit social gatherings of more than 10 people, roll back business occupancy and allow local officials to issue stay-home orders as needed.</p><p>"In summary, the rapid increase in cases has outstripped our ability to track, measure and mitigate the spread of disease," he wrote.</p><p>Austin Mayor Steve Adler, along with the mayors of eight other large Texas cities, also sent Abbott a letter, <a href="https://austonia.com/Coronavirus/texas-face-masks" target="_self">on June 16</a>, asking for the authority to impose a mask requirement.</p><p>The next day, Abbott allowed local jurisdictions to require businesses to mandate masks among employees and customers.</p><p><em>This story is developing and has been updated.</em></p>
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