Some Austin City Council members call for APD Chief Manley's resignation

Talk 1370 Newsroom
June 05, 2020 - 2:16 pm
APD protests

Lola Gomez / American-Statesman via USA TODAY NETWORK

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AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Fresh off hearing hours of public comments Thursday on the response of the Austin Police Department to weekend protests in downtown Austin, four members of the Austin City Council indicated Friday that they have lost faith in Police Chief Brian Manley - with three outright calling for his resignation.

A special-called meeting of the council resumed Friday morning after more than eight hours Thursday that saw more than 300 citizens offer comments, many calling for Manley to be removed and the "defunding" of the department. Council members also heard from Ernesto Rodriguez, chief of Austin-Travis County EMS, on the injuries sustained by some of the protesters that medics attended to.

Manley also gave council members a briefing on the department's response. Thursday evening, Manley said the department was changing its policy to remove the use of less-lethal "bean bag" rounds in crowd control situations, based on the injuries seen this weekend.

The city's Office of Police Oversight has turned 159 vetted complaints over to APD. Speaking to council members, Director Farah Muscadin said the volume of complaints was "unprecedented."

Council Member Greg Casar, who represents District 4, was the most direct with Manley. "For our city to heal and for our community to make progress, I believe the honorable thing would be for you to resign as police chief," Casar said, detailing how he felt the relationship between Manley and the council had become less responsive over the years.

Jimmy Flannigan, who represents District 6, joined Casar's call for Manley to step aside. "I have had many concerns long before this weekend and ultimately for me I would encourage you to consider a path in this movement for reform where your role is not in the seat that you are in right now," Flannigan said.

Sabino "Pio" Renteria, who represents District 3, said he needs to see commitment from Manley to change. "I'm really losing confidence in you," Renteria said. He stopped short of calling for Manley's resignation, but indicated that would be his course of action if changes aren't implemented.

Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, who represents District 2, agreed with Casar as well. "I don't know how we show the community that we're listening. I don't know how we move past this without a change," Garza said.

Any decision to remove Manley from his position lies solely with City Manager Spencer Cronk, although the state's civil service code only allows for Cronk to demote Manley to his rank prior to becoming chief.

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