Austin cops arrested for excessive use of force on BLM protestors, released on $1 bail

Attorney Ken Ervin said, 'Their bail was set at $1, and we posted their $1 bail for them, and they were processed in and out'


                            Austin cops arrested for excessive use of force on BLM protestors, released on $1 bail
People march in the street in a Black Lives Matter protest on July 26, 2020 in downtown Austin, Texas (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
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According to the officers' counsel, at least eight Austin police officers who were indicted on felony counts for using excessive force during 2020 Black Lives Matter rallies in the city were released on a $1 bond. In a press conference on February 21, attorney Ken Ervin said, "Their bail was set at $1, and we posted their $1 bail for them, and they were processed in and out."

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The eight policemen were among a group of 19 officers from the Austin Police Department who have been charged with aggravated assault by a public servant for their encounters with protestors following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. 

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The Austin district attorney is investigating possible criminal charges against cops who fired bean bag rounds at protestors. Some protestors suffered significant injuries, including brain damage, as a result of their actions. The policemen could face a sentence ranging from five years to life in prison if proven guilty.

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The bond amount is up to a judge, according to Ervin, who is representing eight of the arrested police. The district attorney in Austin should have offered a report to aid the judge make an appropriate bond judgement because these cops went through a special grand jury process and turned themselves in. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton weighed in on the case, tweeting, "Texas's Soros-funded leftist DA Jose Garza is attacking Austin Poice for protecting us against the 2020 BLM riots".

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According to the police officers' counsel Ken Ervin, the eight police do not have any bond limitations. In felony cases, bond conditions that are typically included range from travel restrictions to the surrender of passports. Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza announced the cops' indictments last week. It's possible that more police will be charged.

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"You have Mr. Garza reviewing body-worn camera videotape, finding incidents that he believes are objectionable and adding people to the list," another attorney defending the police, Doug O'Connell, said. 

Some of O'Connell's clients are police supervisors who provided instructions to other cops but didn't actually fire bean bag rounds, according to him.The accusations stem from the Austin Police Department's decision to remove protestors off Interstate 35. Attorneys defending the officers claim that the whole chain of command, up to and including the chief of police, backed the use of non-lethal weapons like bean bag rounds to herd protestors away from the freeway.

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"These aren't rogue officers doing what they wanted," Ervin explained. The city of Austin has reached a $10 million settlement with two injured protestors. Bean bag rounds have also been outlawed by the Austin Police Department.