(Charlie L. Harper III)

At least two protests are planned in Austin this weekend over the recent killings of black men by police: Mike Ramos, who was fatally shot by an Austin Police Department officer on April 24 in Southeast Austin, and George Floyd, who died in police custody on Monday after a Minneapolis Police Department officer knelt on his neck. Both events were filmed.


Floyd's death—along with those of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT in Kentucky who was killed by police in March, and Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old who was pursued and shot by two white men while jogging in his Georgia neighborhood in February—has prompted protests in Minneapolis and other cities around the country. Seven people were shot during protests in Louisville last night.

The Mike Ramos Brigade has planned a protest for Saturday afternoon at the APD headquarters downtown. Nearly 2,000 people have expressed interest on the event's Facebook page. The group's members have not identified themselves, but in a call to action posted on social media they listed their demands, including the firing of Chief Brian Manley and the officers who killed Ramos.

"We don't want lip service from politicians who pretend to fight for the interests of black people and give more funding to cops in the same breath," the group wrote in a recent Instagram post. "We want killer cops to be run out, locked up, incapable of ever harming us again."

In a custodial death report filed with Attorney General Ken Paxton's office—as required by state law—APD said the officers involved in Ramos' death were responding to a narcotics call, during which Ramos "became non-compliant and verbally confrontational." One officer, "fearing the male subject intended to use [his car] as a deadly weapon," then shot Ramos with his patrol rifle.

A second protest, organized in collaboration with the Austin Justice Coalition and other community groups, is planned for Sunday at the Capitol. Nearly 500 people have indicated they will attend, with another 1,700 interested. "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE wear your masks if you have them to ensure everyone's safety," AJC Executive Director Chas Moore wrote in a post on the event's Facebook page.

Chris Harris, director of criminal justice programs at Texas Appleseed and a member of the city's public safety commission, called for a reduction in police budgets and authority in a tweet yesterday. "Police & prisons won't stop Amy Coopers or police killings & aren't the answer," he wrote, referring to the white woman who called police on a black man who asked her to leash her dog in a New York City park earlier this week.

Manley called Floyd's death "heart wrenching" and "senseless" in a tweet on Wednesday. "As law enforcement professionals, we must do better in service to our communities!"


In November, Austin City Council ordered two investigations into APD after an anonymous complaint alleged racism, sexism and homophobia among the top ranks. The initial investigation, the findings of which were released last month, did not confirm any specific allegations. But Lisa Tatum, the San Antonio lawyer tasked with the job, wrote in her report that "issues of race lie just below the surface."

From Your Site Articles
(Austonia staff)

Barton Springs pool will reopen on Saturday after being closed since late June due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barton Springs and Deep Eddy pools will reopen this Saturday on a modified schedule after being closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep Reading Show less

It's difficult to imagine running any modern business without some sort of conferencing capability, whether it's video, web or audio-based. While video conferencing has become an integral part of daily operations for many businesses, many companies still don't have a go-to service for interacting with clients. As a result, participants have to navigate the less-than-ideal 'which service should we use' conversation before each meeting, adding further complexity and distracting from the purpose of the discussion.

Keep Reading Show less

Gov. Greg Abbott help a press conference Sept. 24 to announce new legislative proposals.

By Jolie McCullough

At a campaign event in Dallas on Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a string of new legislative proposals to raise penalties and create new crimes for offenses committed at protests.

Keep Reading Show less
(Realtor.com)

Elijah Wood's Austin home goes on the market.

It may not be The Shire, but Elijah Wood is selling the next best thing: his 130-year-old classic Victorian home in Austin.

Keep Reading Show less
(Pexels)

Rapid antigen tests are popular because they return results in 15 minutes. But positive results are considered "probable" rather than "confirmed," per CDC guidelines.

When the University of Texas at Austin hosted its first home football game of the season, administrators required student attendees to be tested for COVID-19 before entering the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Of the 1,198 students who were tested that day, 95 returned positive results, according to a university spokesperson. But none of these cases were logged on the Austin-Travis County COVID-19 dashboard or counted toward official totals.

Why?

Keep Reading Show less
(Laura Figi/Austonia)

Hiram Garcia, on the right with a white mask, talks to a protester after he is shoved to the ground for live streaming.

After a Kentucky grand jury ruled not to charge two of the three police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, protesters across the country took to the streets, including at the Texas Capitol and Austin City Hall to stand against the decision.

Keep Reading Show less
Jordan Vonderhaar/The Texas Tribune

Forty-one states have passed laws allowing online voter registration; Texas is not one of them.

By Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff

When Jarrod Stringer updated his driver's license address in 2014, the Texas Department of Public Safety website asked if he wanted to register to vote. He clicked yes and thought he was registered. That fall, when he went to vote in San Antonio, he was denied. According to the system, he had never registered. It was past the registration deadline, so he couldn't vote.

Keep Reading Show less