August 13, 2022

POLICE FOLLIES: Texas Governor Greg Abbott just made his most condemnable appointment yet

POLICE FOLLIES: Texas Governor Greg Abbott just made his most condemnable appointment yet

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott just appointed a cop indicted after the murder of George Floyd to the state’s regulatory law enforcement agency. Justin Berry – a previous candidate for the Texas state house and one of 19 Austin police officers who were accused of excessive force during the demonstrations protesting the Floyd murder – was indicted by an Austin grand jury in February for his actions.

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Now, Berry will serve on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

The indicted police officer took to Twitter to share his excitement over being appointed by Abbott to the board that sets minimum licensing and training standards for police.

Sara Mokuria, the co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, called the decision by Abbott “dangerous” and said it goes against “what’s in the best interests of Texans.”

“This is an indicted officer who is now part of the body licensing and regulating law enforcement agencies. It’s a move in the wrong direction, and it makes us unsafe. And, quite frankly, it’s a message that has been reiterated from the governor’s mansion over and over again, whether that be families in Uvalde who were not safe to send their kids to school, or all Texas residents during the winter storm. Our lives and our safety have consistently been put at risk because of this governor.”

The executive director of the Austin Justice Coalition, Chas Moore, said the appointment by Abbott “isn’t surprising.”

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Berry’s indictment came after the city of Austin agreed to a $10 million settlement for two men shot with bean bag rounds by law enforcement officers during the protests.

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Though Berry’s role in the violent police tactics used during the 2020 protests remains unclear, he was there on the scene when several people were wounded after being shot in the head, including a 20-year-old Black man and a 16-year-old Hispanic male.

The Austin Justice Coalition’s Moore went on to criticize Gov. Abbott’s appointment, saying:

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“He’s never cared about making sure that everybody can be safe. He doesn’t care about the national conversation that happened in 2020, where every state had some form of protest for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, you know. He’s a diehard Texas Republican.”

And a wanna-be dictator, apparently.

Abbott’s decision to appoint an officer indicted for his participation in excessive force against demonstrators is anti-democratic, authoritarian behavior against citizens exercising their constitutionally protected First Amendment right to protest.

It is simply another example of the GOP’s willful disregard for the wants, needs, and voices of the American people.

Let’s hope that Texas voters won’t forget in November.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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