19 Austin police officers indicted in protest probe
The indictments were announced just hours after Austin city leaders agreed a $10 million settlement for two people who were hurt by police during the protests in 2020.
A Texas grand jury indicted 19 Austin police officers on charges of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon for their behavior during the 2020 'Black Lives Matter' racial injustice rallies that swept the US after the murder of George Floyd, according to people familiar with the matter.
On his account, Ken Cassidy, president of the Austin Police Association, affirmed that 19 officers are facing charges but did not provide further details.
This case is one of the largest when it comes to the number of indictments against a single police department in the United States for tactics used by officers during the nationwide protests – practices that resulted in the resignation or ouster of numerous police chiefs around the country.
The indictments were announced just hours after Austin city leaders agreed to pay a $10 million settlement for two people who were hurt by police during the protests, including a college student who suffered brain damage after being shot with a beanbag round by an officer.
The charges and settlement saw the Texan capital's people taking a hard stand against the police amid mounting criticism against the police department's handling of the protests, increasing pressure on the police chief at the time, Brian Manley, to resign.
The cops facing accusations have not been identified by prosecutors. According to Texas law, an indictment must be kept secret until an officer has been detained. When a public official commits an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, he or she could face a term of up to life in prison.
Austin Chief of Police Joseph Chacon, who took over following Manley, said he respects the grand jury process but was "extremely disappointed" to hear the district attorney announce his officers' impending indictments.
The payouts awarded on Thursday are among the largest ever paid to persons hurt by police across the United States in the aftermath of Floyd's murder.
Prosecutors issued charges against two Dallas police officers earlier this month, accusing them of wounding protesters after using "less lethal munitions".
It is worth mentioning that Black History Month has begun, as cities are still dealing with the injuries and tactics employed by police two years after the widespread protests over George Floyd's murder.
Floyd's murder led to widespread protests all over the United States over racial inequality and police brutality, bringing to question police practices in the United States, which have been subject to many campaigns all over the country.