Phase 4, the final phase, of Proposition B enforcement began Sunday, meaning police can now arrest homeless individuals for camping in the downtown area.
The Austin Police Department can arrest individuals if they do not voluntarily leave an area after receiving a citation in Phase 4. In Phase 3, APD began writing citations and could only arrest if individuals were camping in areas that were deemed dangerous.
Both APD and the city said they are taking a humane approach to the law and doing their best to work with involved people—APD officers have connected homeless individuals to more than 124 social support services in previous phases.
City Council has been criticized in its response to the camping ban reimplementation for not moving forward with a clear plan for homeless people to go. Approval for sanctioned homeless camps, where homeless people can stay with access to resources and without the threat of arrest, has been dragged out by council after not agreeing on the location of the camps.
Since the camping ban was overturned in the May election, APD officers have visited more than 605 homeless individuals or groups, issued 572 written warnings and 24 citations but have made no arrests, according to the city. Arrests made in the future will be processed through the Downtown Austin Community Court.
"I anticipate the number of individuals willing to voluntarily comply with the ordinance will increase moving forward," Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon said.
While APD said it is collaborating with the City to promote voluntary compliance, prioritizing enforcement on camping areas with the greatest safety risks, Phase 4 will occur regardless of encampment safety.
Meanwhile, the city will continue to organize camp clean-ups at underpasses, parks and camp communities as needed. The clean-ups are not associated with Prop B implementation.
The City will give an update on the new stage on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. via virtual news conference.
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Filling the National Mall grounds, the "Field of Flags" display in Washington, D.C. brought something different to the 46th presidential inauguration. And behind the display was none other than an Austin-based promotion company.
C-3 Concerts, the same company that usually puts on ACL each year, worked with the Presidential Inaugural Committee to design the display of 200,000 U.S. flags as part of their "America United" theme, according to KVUE.
The PIC announced earlier this month that "The Field of Flags" represents the "American people who were unable to travel to Washington, DC, and reflect(s) PIC's commitment to an inclusive and safe event that everyone can enjoy from their home."
The display also features 56 pillars of light meant to represent each United States state and territory.
The theme also includes a post-inaugural stop by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony to honor the men and women in uniform who have died in combat.
C-3 concerts has previously worked on former President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009 and 2013.
In the wake of election results nearing certification and Georgia's runoff elections coming to an end, President Donald Trump supporters took to the State Capitol to rally in solidarity with Washington D.C. and other nationwide protests.
Hundreds of supporters gathered to protest election results, falsely asserting that the election has been "stolen" from Trump. The event on Facebook, titled "Occupy The Capitol for Trump—Austin," counted 221 people who said they would be there.
At the base of the Capitol, more than 200 people gathered clad with signs reading "stop the steal" or "hang traitors" and flags galore, and at the intersection of 11th Street and Congress Avenue.
People gathered in groups, mostly unmasked, listening to live country performers, chanting and praying.
Floridian Alicia Andrews, who is a native Texan, said she came to protest for democracy and freedom, and to bring power back to the people.
"I don't agree with the stealing of the election and the loss of freedom," Andrews said. "I think there has been a lot of things in play to take the power away from the people and turn it to the hands of the elites who see a better way. There is no voice of our people if the elections are stolen."
While protesters gathered near the Capitol building at first, Texas DPS troopers closed the grounds after people tried to storm inside, mimicking the chaos in D.C. What started as a protest outside the U.S. Capitol turned into a mob of pro-Trump supporters breaching through security barriers and through the building.
Pro-Trump protesters carrying flags march through the Capitol building, chanting "we want Trump," forcing a lockdow… https://t.co/6hQ0V6jYRV— ABC News (@ABC News) 1609963415.0
The more time went on, the more violence ensued everywhere.
In Austin, fights were frequent and occurred both between the growing presence of non-Trump supporters and between people who were originally on the same side. Some Trump supporters began to leave, saying they didn't support the violence and yelling going on by the party they originally came to support. Some people in the area said the loud chanting of "f--- ANTIFA" became too much too handle.
One protester, who left before giving his name, said he didn't agree with the yelling and said he came to the event to have open conversations, not pick fights with people who didn't agree with him.
"I'm sick of not having dialogue—speaking," he said. "I'm from Austin, so I'm conservative, yes, but I'm open to anything. I just want us to come to something besides screaming and hollering over each other."
Crowds at the Texas Capitol began diminishing at around 4 p.m.
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