A Man is Dead: City of Austin Changes Nothing?

Dear City Manager Cronk,

I ask that you immediately move to replace Austin's public safety leadership with people ready to dig in and make long needed reforms. The nation is exploding over the death of George Floyd, and yet six weeks after Austin officers killed Mike Ramos in front of horrified witnesses, nothing has changed at our local police department. In fact, Chief Manley has misrepresented the case in his formal report to the Attorney General, and may well put the murderer back on the street as he did last year after the same officer killed Mauris DeSilva.

Justice for Mike Ramos and all the others killed by Austin police requires new leadership willing to dig deep and make significant changes to our police department. APD needs new leadership to:

  • properly train in de-escalation, demilitarize the culture and instill the sanctity of all life as a core value,
  • address the ongoing problem of racism in the department,
  • end arrest and jail for marijuana possession and other minor infractions,
  • use alternative first responders to calls related to mental illness and homelessness,
  • improve sex crime investigation and management of the crime lab, and
  • ensure APD cooperation with Austin's civilian police oversight office.

Community organizations, the Mayor and City Council have called for these and many other reforms for years now, with little progress and much backsliding.

Right now, I urge you to begin the search for a new police Chief and a new civilian leader for the public safety departments. While you conduct that search, you must cancel the July police Academy until the full review of current training is complete and new curricula are in place.

I look forward to hearing your response,



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When someone picks up the phone at City Hall, here are talking points:

I urge the City Manager to:

Understand the urgency of this crisis -- Black people are afraid of police, and the recent Mike Ramos shooting shows why. Then our police chief tweets about lessons police need to learn from the death of George Floyd, while misrepresenting the Ramos case in formal reports. It is time to:

  • Replace the police chief and top management at Austin's┬ápublic safety division.

  • Cancel new cadet training until curriculum is reformed, and give that process enough time to make sure we train new officers to treat all life as sacred.

  • Conduct a national search for police leaders who are ready to change the culture of the department to ensure that black and brown people are safe from police violence.