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Protesters seek independent investigator

Friday, February 12, 2016 by Jo Clifton

Protesters gathered at City Hall on Thursday to express their demands for a quick and independent investigation into the shooting death of Austin teenager David Joseph. Mayor Steve Adler told the crowd that he wants a faster response than the 45 days typical of the Austin Police Department. Officer Geoffrey Freeman killed the naked and unarmed 17-year-old as Joseph ran toward the officer on Monday. Adler said, “I want you to know that the city hears you, and the country hears you.” He added, “Black lives matter,” the rallying cry of the national movement against police shootings of unarmed African-Americans. The officer is African-American, as was the teenager. Protesters gave the mayor a list of demands, including that the investigation be completed within 30 days by an “impartial third-party manager” and that the Austin Justice Coalition be involved in picking the investigator. In addition, protesters want a review and audit of APD’s policies dealing with mentally ill people. “This is not Baltimore. This is not Ferguson. This is Austin,” said Clifton Styles, a member of the coalition, as he addressed the crowd. “And in this community we are not going to stand for police not doing their job effectively and taking the lives of our young men. Not in this city.” Adler did not immediately promise to meet the protesters’ demands about the outside investigator, but he did say, “If we do not have confidence in that process, in that short investigation, then we need to be ready to ask for other entities or other parties for an independent investigator to come in.” Protesters responded with shouts of “Now!”

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