Texas police officers indicted over excessive force in 2020 protests

A grand jury in Austin, Texas, has indicted multiple police officers for using excessive force during anti-racism protests in 2020, local authorities said.

Speaking at a press conference, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said that “multiple indictments will be forthcoming in the days ahead” for police officers suspected of criminal conduct during the May 2020 protests, spurred by the murder of African-American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis, reports Xinhua news agency.

Garza said a special grand jury had completed its work, without revealing how many police officers would be indicted.

According to local media reports, which quoted anonymous sources, 19 Austin police officers would be indicted on aggravated assault charges over the protests.

According to Garza, the facts discovered through his office’s investigations were “disturbing,” and the investigators believed that many protesters injured by police during those protests were “innocent bystanders”.

The protesters suffered “significant and serious injuries to the head, face and body”, and some may never recover, said the district attorney.

Meanwhile, Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said on Thursday that he was “extremely disappointed” in the announcement of indictments.

Chacon argued that police officers had “to work under the most chaotic of circumstances” during the protests, facing rocks, frozen bottles of water, bottles containing bodily fluids, commercial-grade fireworks and other objects being hurled at them.

According to Garza, his office had also prosecuted 33 cases against civilians who engaged in criminal conduct at the time.

Also on Thursday, Austin City Council reportedly approved $10 million in settlements for two people hurt by Austin police officers during the protests.

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May 2020.

His death sparked weeks-long protests and social unrest across the US.




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