Police-defunded Austin surpasses a 61-year high with 60th homicide of 2021

AUSTIN, TX – After two homicides early Sunday morning, the Texas city has reached 60 homicides this year, the most in the 61 years that Austin police have kept records.

The record number surpasses 2020 homicides by 25%, when the city saw 48 murders, and broke the previous record of 59 set in 1984.

The record was shattered Saturday morning with two homicides just minutes apart.

Austin officers responded to a call at the El Nocturno Night Club on 7601 N. Lamar Blvd. after reports of gunfire early Saturday morning. They located a man with several gunshot wounds at the scene. The victim was later pronounced dead.

About 10 minutes after the shooting was called in, other officers had to respond to a stabbing reported downtown. Police located a victim suffering stab wounds who later died. No details have been released about the stabbing.

Austin-American Statesman‘s Tony Plohetski tweeted about the shocking homicide rate plaguing the city:

“Austin has recorded its 60th homicide, the most ever in the 61 years that police have kept records. The 60th case — the stabbing of a man downtown early Sunday — marks a 25% increase in last year’s total of 48.”

Plohetski wrote that the homicide rate in the city stands at 6.0 per 100,000 residents using 2020 census data.

According to the data, last year reached 5.0, breaking a record set in 2016 of 4.21.

He pointed out that the department has added more Homicide Detectives to their roster, and it has helped:

“Police have filed charges in 49 of the 60 cases and have recently added more detectives to the homicide unit.”

Interim Austin Police Department Chief Joseph Chacon said Monday during a press conference regarding the homicide rate:

“This really is a national phenomenon. It is something that is being seen by big cities all across the country.

“We are collaborating as cities to determine what the driving factors are for why that’s happening, but it is not something that is unique to Austin.”

Chief Chacon blamed the violent rise in the city on the number of guns circulating in the city, and the release from prison of people previously convicted of violent crimes.

The Interim Chief said he wants to add more police officers on the streets but pointed out staffing issues began long before the pandemic and defund movement. He said that the problem was aggravated by officers contracting COVID-19 and cadet classes being cancelled because of the pandemic.

The Save Austin Now-backed Proposition A, a proposal to add hundreds of officers to the city, will be voted on in November. The Proposition seeks to:

  • Require minimum staffing of two officers per 1,000 residents.
  • Require a minimum standard of 35% community response time.
  • Add 40 hours of training.
  • Require city council members, Mayor Steve Adler, and other city staff to enroll in the Citizens Police Academy.
  • Facilitate minority officer hiring through foreign language proficiency metrics.

The proposition is a major turnaround from just a year ago, when the Austin City Council voted to cut the police budget by a third amid the “Defund the Police” movement following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the death of Michael Ramos in Austin.

Austin, like many major cities, is experiencing a surge in violent crimes and homicides since the defund movement was pushed by liberal activists and Progressive Democratic lawmakers.

Save Austin Now co-founders Matt Mackowiak and Cleo Petricek issued a statement supporting the proposition:

“Our city can afford the same number of police officers that the city authorized just two years ago. City Hall may not support law enforcement, but city residents do.”

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Austin newspaper refuses to publish identity of mass shooting suspect, not wanting to “perpetuate stereotypes”

June 13, 2021


The following contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today. 

AUSTIN, TX- Early Saturday morning, a mass shooting took place in Austin, Texas at around 1:30 a.m. in the entertainment district. Fourteen people were injured, two critically. The suspect escaped, albeit temporarily.

Now, one would think it would be important for the media to issue a description of the suspect to help with the investigation. Not for the Austin American-Statesman, a liberal-leaning news outlet in the city.

In a story reporting the shooting, the newspaper included the following editor’s note accompanying the story:

“The Austin American-Statesman is not including the [police’s] description as it is too vague at this time to be useful in identifying the shooter and such publication could be harmful in perpetuating stereotypes.”

It continued that additional information will be forthcoming if more detailed information was released to the public and press.

Uh, not for nothing but by including that very editor’s note, the Austin American-Statesman literally just played into “perpetuating stereotypes.”

One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out at least the race of the shooter based on that statement alone. Clearly if the suspect was a “white male” that wouldn’t “perpetuate stereotypes.” 

The suspect, who initially escaped the scene was described by police as a “slim black male with dreadlocks,” which was published in other media outlets.

So, what is the issue with the newspaper refusing to print a description of a suspect in a shooting which injured 14 people?

Some twitter users responded to the outlet’s refusal to publish the description of the suspect:





Refusing to print that description because it might “perpetuate stereotypes” is a weak and lame excuse. It is also an indicator of how wokeness is not only leading to absolute absurdity, but it is also dangerous.

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If the shooter were white, or Asian or maybe even Hispanic, does one think for a minute that the Austin American-Statesman would have hesitated in printing a suspect description? Absolutely not. So why the difference?

Why do we need to tiptoe around the fact that statistically, black males commit an overwhelming majority of crimes? The data is out there if one takes the time to look. It is simply a fact.

What is the media afraid of? The truth?

While media has no problem throwing police officers under the bus when an officer-involved shooting happens, often without having either facts or context, why do they feel the need to dance around giving a description of a suspect in a shooting that injures fourteen people, two critically?

This is the age we are now in, the age of abject stupidity. Most right-thinking Americans clearly know that just because one black male decided to shoot fourteen people it isn’t a knock on ALL black males. It’s simply a fact. A black male was involved in shooting fourteen people in Austin, Texas. Period.

Putting that information out to the public while the shooter was still at large is important. How many crimes have been solved by police putting out a description of a suspect to the public which leads to a tip from someone which leads to an arrest? It happens probably every single day.

Such is the world in 2021. Public safety is subservient to pushing a political agenda. The Austin American-Statesman did its readers a disservice by refusing to publish a description of the shooter, and by making the statement they did, unwittingly played into the exact stereotypes they claim to be avoiding. It would be laughable if it weren’t so absurdly ridiculous.

Meanwhile, USA Today reports that police have made one arrest in connection with the shooting. The arrest was accomplished by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.

Police had previously announced they had identified two suspects involved in a previous dispute and were looking to arrest both of them.

According to interim Police Chief Joe Chacon, police were confident that police would determine what prompted the shooting and that suspects would face a variety of charges including attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Investigators said that the shooter appeared to fire randomly and believe most of the shooting victims were not targeted but instead were innocent bystanders.

Police also said the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident; however, the investigation is ongoing. Investigators were being assisted by the FBI as well as off-duty detectives from various units.

The shooting occurred in the early morning Saturday and when paramedics arrived on the scene, they described an “active attack.” They found people covered in blood on the street and sidewalk.

EMS officials said four people were transported to the hospital via ambulance, six were transported by Austin police while three were taken by private vehicle.

“It’s very difficult to contain the scene, it was very difficult for EMS to make their way into this crowd,” Chacon said. “And because of the nature of the injuries, officers had to go ahead and use their police vehicles to put some of these shooting victims into their vehicles and transport them themselves.”

Chacon said Saturday’s shooting was a continuation of the gun violence that has plagued Texas’ capital city in recent months, which has also plagued cities across the country in the post-George Floyd world.

“So, this is just emblematic of that,” he said. “And it’s something we’re trying to work to decrease.”

It should be noted that the American-Statesman is part of the USA Today network.

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The post Police-defunded Austin surpasses a 61-year high with 60th homicide of 2021 appeared first on Law Enforcement Today.

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Author: Scott A. Davis

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