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Tipsheet

Austin Ends Partnership With State Police After Claim of Guns Pointed at Child. There's Just One Problem.

The city of Austin announced Interim City Manager Jesús Garza, in consultation with Mayor Kirk Watson, has ended the partnership they had with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) after a man claimed Texas Highway Patrol troopers pointed guns at his child, but body camera footage shows that did not occur.

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The controversy started on Saturday after troopers initiated a traffic stop because the vehicle was missing license plates. Carlos Meza, the driver, pulled into his driveway with the troopers close behind. His 10-year-old son then got out of the car and the troopers got out with their weapons drawn but pointed downward, according to Fox 7. The troopers did point their weapons at Meza but the footage shows no firearms were pointed at the child.

"At no point in the body cam video did I see a gun pointed at a 10-year-old," Council Member Mackenzie Kelly told KXAN. "I will say that I was shocked to hear that when that initially came out on the news but as with most things in this city and in the country as a whole, they require investigation."

Austin's partnership with DPS was due to the Austin Police Department being short hundreds of officers, up to 500 according to the Austin Police Association.

"This decision is just another in a long line of decisions that demonstrate to the hardworking men and women of APD and the law-abiding citizens of Austin that public safety is not a priority in this City," the Association said.

Despite evidence to the contrary, Garza and Watson said they do not want the city to work with the state anymore.

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"This partnership was an innovative approach to address acute staffing shortages that were years in the making. However, any approach must be in sync with Austin values," said Watson.

But even in their statement announcing the end of the collaboration, Watson and Garza admitted having state troopers helping on the street decreased response times, decreased violent crime, and increased "seizures of significant amounts of illicit drugs, including fentanyl and heroin."

DPS tweeted they will continue to patrol the streets of Austin "as part of its responsibility to protect and serve Texas."

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