The city of Austin will pay a record-high $8 million to settle a federal lawsuit with Justin Howell, a then-20-year-old student at Texas State University who suffered head injuries from "less-lethal" bean bag rounds shot by Austin police officers in the 2020 George Floyd protests. The city will also award $2 million to Anthony Evans, who was also shot by APD officers during the protests.
The combined $10 million settlement was approved in a unanimous vote from Austin City Council Thursday. Howell's $8 million is by far the most ever rewarded in an Austin excessive force case. Prior to Howell's case, Austin paid a then-record of $3.25 million settlement to the family of David Joseph, a teenager who was naked and unarmed when APD officer Geoffrey Freeman shot and killed him in 2016.
Both Howell and Evans suffered head injuries from bean bag munition in the summer 2020 protests. Officers aiming at a protestor who reportedly hurled a water bottle at police shot Howell in the head instead, causing a skull fracture and brain damage that resulted in three weeks of treatment in intensive care.
Evans was also shot in the face with the lead-filled sacks, causing a broken jaw that required emergency surgery.
The two settlements come as a grand jury considers charges against up to 18 Austin police officers on a dozen excessive force cases after 30 protesters were injured in the summer of 2020. Like Howell and Evans, six of the twelve cases involve shots fired to the head.
The jury is expected to conclude its investigation by the end of the month.
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Austin police are investigating the killing of Moriah "Mo" Wilson after she was found with gunshot wounds inside an Austin home.
Wilson, a gravel and mountain bike racer, was visiting Austin from Colorado in preparation for the Gravel Locos race on Saturday taking place in Hico, a small town 2 hours from Austin.
On Wednesday, her roommate came home and found Wilson unresponsive with "a lot of blood near her,” police said. It is now being investigated as a suspicious death. No further information on the suspect or motive behind the killing are available at this time.
Wilson recently had become a full-time biker after winning a slew of races in the past year.
Some of your favorite Instagram filters can’t be used in Texas anymore and Austinites are sounding off on social media.
Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that certain filters would no longer be available in Texas.
The change is a result of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Meta, alleging the company uses facial recognition technology that violates laws in Texas. A release from Meta says it stopped using facial recognition tech in November 2021 and denies Paxton’s allegations.
Some Austinites bemoaned the shift, saying some of their favorite filters were now unavailable.
This was my FAVORITE filter on @instagram and they done removed it cause I’m in Texas ! Like wowwwwww pic.twitter.com/uX60hdIC0Q
— Pinkyy Montana (@inkstar_pinkyy) May 11, 2022
i heard that instagram filters got banned in texas? what the actual fuck y’all better give me my favorite filter back
— lia 🤍 (@liatootrill) May 11, 2022
loved this stupid filter sm i hate texas pic.twitter.com/DXr9mmUc64
— birthday boy jeno 🎂 (@beabtox) May 12, 2022
But more often than not, locals joked about the ban.
Texas women seeing the filter ban on IG pic.twitter.com/yDMcP3Qtsr
— Christian (Anabolic) Flores (@christian_flo24) May 11, 2022
So, the state of Texas has banned filter use on IG? THE END IS NEAR. 😂
— THE FRANCHISE! Франшиза (@NYCFranchise718) May 12, 2022
And some in-between chose to show off some natural beauty.
I live in Texas, but no filter needed. 😉 pic.twitter.com/A6teRgYMKn
— bad and bruja (@starseedmami) May 11, 2022
filter, no filter..texas women still reign supreme.
— 🎍 (@_sixile) May 11, 2022
Finally, some are trying to cash in on the opportunity.
Texas IG users- if you want to filter your picture cashapp me $1.50 $ErvnYng
— Gemini (@ervn_y) May 11, 2022
Meta said it plans to create an opt-in system for both Texas and Illinois residents, who are facing the same issues.