[Hpn] Fwd: [ACLU] Action Alert : Austin Police Reform Gutted

john macpherson nyceguy50@yahoo.com
Thu, 15 Feb 2001 18:15:17 -0800 (PST)

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 In case you wonder about our homeless situation its
ramped because of the city manager and city council
the security force is bad. We have known it for years.
Note: forwarded message attached.

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From: David Smith <david_smith@unforgettable.com>
To: John Macpherson <nyceguy50@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 23:13:20 -0600
Subject: [ACLU] Action Alert : Austin Police Reform Gutted
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Do not distribute after April 1, 2001 or until updated 


The Austin Police Association and Austin City Manager Jesus Garza have conspired 
to gut a civilian oversight agreement painstakingly developed in public by a 
city task force, the Police Oversight Focus Group. Instead, they used secret 
negotiations to thwart the Austin City Council's stated will and to neuter every 
significant point of real accountability in the proposed system. All records 
and processes remain secret. The system proposed in the agreement would be no 
more accountable than the current one -- that is to say, not accountable at all. 


If you watch the news you know the Austin Police Department has serious problems. 
APD made national headlines after detectives coerced a false rape confession 
and the victim was proven innocent by DNA testing. A federal task force pursued 
allegations that Austin cops provided security for drug dealers until APD quashed 
the investigation by pulling its men off the case. And Samuel Ramirez, an Austin 
cop who allegedly forced a woman to perform oral sex on him while he was on duty, 
was only charged with a misdemeanor and could still return to the force. 

Citizens demanded accountability for APD's increasingly notorious record, and 
the Austin City Council responded by creating Austin's Police Oversight Focus 
Group (POFG), made up of citizens and representatives of the Austin Police Association, 
the officers' union. The idea was that restrictive state civil service laws could 
be overridden to create real accountability if the union would agree to reforms 
through their labor contract process. The most important reforms, negotiated 
over many months, gave limited access (for complainants and the oversight board) 
to information about investigations of complaints against officers. In return, 
police officers would get a large pay raise. 

The police association abandoned the public agreement and gutted the POFG deal 
in closed door labor negotiations with City Manager Jesus Garza. Under the new 
deal, all information has been restricted from complainants, the proposed oversight 
board and the public. The proposed system is just as closed and just as accountable 
as the current system -- that is to say, it is completely closed and not accountable 
to anyone at all. The pay raise, you may imagine, was left intact. 


The ACLU and the Sunshine Project oppose the Meet and Confer Agreement without 
the full POFG recommendations, and urge Austin residents to call city council 
today to say you do too. Tell them no pay raise without real oversight. Do it 
right now! 

Mayor Kirk Watson 
499-2250; kirk.watson@ci.austin.tx.us
Daryl Slusher 
499-2260; daryl.slusher@ci.austin.tx.us 

Jackie Goodman 
499-2255; jackie.goodman@ci.austin.tx.us 

Danny Thomas 
499-2266; danny.thomas@ci.austin.tx.us 

Will Wynn 
499-2256; will.wynn@ci.austin.tx.us 

Raul Alvarez 
499-2264; raul.alvarez@ci.austin.tx.us 

Beverly Griffith 
499-2258; beverly.griffith@ci.austin.tx.us 

The city council still has to vote before the city manager's and the police union's 
flagrant betrayal of the public interest becomes codified into local law and 
practice. Please help in every way you can, with our campaign to stop this injustice. 

For more information, including how your organization can join: 

ACLU of Texas Police Accountability Project 
AOL users <"http://www.aclutx.org/projects/police/> 
Email: policeaccountability@aclutx.org 


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