President Of Austin Police Association Gives His Take On New ‘Freedom City’ Policy
Ken Casaday says freedom city rules are bad policy.
We’ve already talked with Austin City Council city member Greg Casar about turning Austin into Texas’ first “freedom city.”
He cited data that minorities in Austin are arrested at higher rates for offenses that could also be punished with a ticket. The freedom city proposal would establish clear policies on what should happen to anyone caught committing a low-level, nonviolent misdemeanor. It would also require officers to tell people they don’t have to answer their questions about immigration status. The city council went on to approve those plans.
We sat down with APD detective and president of the Austin Police Association, Ken Casaday to talk about the new policies.
Casaday says taking away officers discretion to make arrests is bad policy and that the city council is “race baiting.”
He states that there is a long history of racism in law enforcement. But Casaday also explains that the situation is improving. “We’ve made great strides, the justice department has been to our department twice in the last 15 years,” he says. “We’re a model agency that they use.” He says that being called a racist is a “hard pill to swallow.”
Casaday explains other reasons people go to jail for misdemeanors. If the driver is caught without an ID, intoxicated or has previous warrants, the policy states they have to be taken to jail.
“We’re all about releasing people and emptying the jails of people who probably should not be there for misdemeanor offenses. But it has to be the right offenses,” the detective says. He points out that driving with a suspended license is one of those offenses.
Written by Emanuela Schneider