Protest-related policies

In June 2020, the Austin City Council passed a series of resolutions to respond to issues that arose during the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020.

One of these, Resolution 20200611-095 (“Resolution 95”)open_in_new, outlined the City of Austin’s position on several use-of-force topics.

In early 2021, as a result of Resolution 95, APD considered changes to its policies on some of these topics, including:

  1. Tear gas
  2. Facial recognition technology
  3. Long-range acoustic devices
  4. Military-grade equipment
  5. No-knock warrants

OPO found that APD’s proposed changes to four of these five topics did not align with Resolution 95.

Redefining “resistance” and considering alternatives

In June 2020, the Austin City Council adopted Resolution 20200611-095 ("Resolution 95"). Pursuant to Resolution 95, the City Manager directed the Office of Police Oversight to "research and issue recommendations on amendments to the Austin Police Department (APD) General Orders on how to better define what constitutes 'resistance' and alternative tactics and tools that can be used by officers to prevent the need for lethal or less-lethal munitions, including a review of police techniques used in countries that use unarmed patrol forces."

Less-lethal munitions are projectiles fired from a launcher, such as a 12-gauge shotgun. Examples of less-lethal munitions include pepper balls, beanbag rounds, and rubber bullets. Less-lethal munitions can cause injury, incapacitation, or death.

Lethal munitions are ammunition projected from a traditional firearm such as a pistol or rifle. Examples of lethal munitions include traditional bullets. Lethal munitions can cause injury, incapacitation, or death.

On April 15, 2021, OPO released a policy memo discussing how resistance could be redefined and considering alternative tactics and tools to prevent the need for lethal and less-lethal munitions.

One of our main findings was that the current General Orders do not define the term “resistance,” nor do they provide examples of behavior that would be considered “resistance.”

Click here to read the full memo.open_in_new

Contact information

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Main office: (512) 974-9090
Complaint and thank-you hotline: (512) 972-2676

Contact information

contact_phone
Main office: (512) 974-9090
Complaint and thank-you hotline: (512) 972-2676
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