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Critic Calls TX Troopers' Arrests In Austin 'Racial Profiling'

In March, Austin, Tex., Mayor Kirk Watson and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made a deal to send state troopers to assist Austin’s understaffed police department. Four months later, on July 12, Watson announced that the city was suspending the partnership after reports that state troopers pulled a gun on a 10-year-old during a traffic stop. Video of the stop showed that the troopers didn’t point their guns at the child but did point them at his father, the Texas Tribune reports. Abbott then sent an additional 30 troopers to Austin, bringing the total to 130. Records obtained by the Tribune through an open records request show that troopers made 1,253 arrests in Austin's Travis County between March and July, including 513 in April alone. That includes a seven-week period between mid-May and early July when the state pulled most of the troopers out of Austin and sent them to the Texas-Mexico border.

In 2022, state troopers made 935 arrests in Travis County. Data from the Travis County attorney’s office shows that from March 27, when the city announced that troopers would begin patrolling Austin’s streets, to July 12, 82% of the people charged with misdemeanors by state troopers were Black or Latino. During that same period, 69% of misdemeanor charges filed by Austin police were against Black people or Latinos, who together make up 41% of the city’s population. “It’s very oppressive, it’s exploitative, it’s just total harassment. This is outright racial profiling,” said Susana Almanza, president of the Montopolis neighborhood association and a local activist. “We can’t go out in the community, can’t even go to the grocery store, without feeling intimidated or fearful that we’ll be pulled over by DPS. People are very afraid to come out.”


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