Police protests is Austin’s No. 2 story of the year


We’re counting down Austin’s top stories of the year selected by reporters and editors from American-Statesman. Our countdown is until December 27th. Today: No. 2

After the death of George Floyd under the knee of the Minneapolis police force, people took to the streets of Austin to protest police force violence and other racial injustices. On the spot, the fatal shooting of Michael Ramos by Austin police in April sparked protesters, as did revelations about the death of Javier Ambler II when he was shocked with a taser by Williamson County MPs.

June 1, 2020, Austin American-Statesman

The protests climaxed on a tumultuous first weekend in June, when protesters repeatedly switched off Interstate 35, set fires sporadically, and marched through downtown Austin demanding police accountability and racial justice. Police in riot gear responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets, forming human barricades and closing the Capitol grounds. At least 33 protesters were injured, which further inflamed passions about police procedures.

Several Austin City Council members called for Police Chief Brian Manley to be replaced. According to a police review months later, 11 officers were disciplined for misconduct during the protests.

City council approved immediate police budget cuts of $ 21 million, much of it through the cancellation of three cadet classes suspended due to curriculum changes at the police academy. The city council sought an additional $ 129 million to move functions from the police department to other city offices. The actions drew the ire of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who threatened legislative action to give the state government greater control over Austin policing.


Our countdown is until December 27th. Read our recaps of stories in our countdown of Austin’s top news of 2020:

  • No. 10: Leasing the teacher pension scheme

  • # 9: Austin’s Billion Dollar Transit Plan

  • # 8: All eyes on ‘The Eyes of Texas’

  • # 7: Tesla selects Austin for the factory

  • No. 6: An election year like no other

  • # 5: Ken Paxton accused of abuse of office

  • # 4: Vanessa Guillen’s death brings change to Fort Hood

  • # 3: Williamson Sheriff charged after Javier Ambler’s death

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