APD lethal force town hall turns emotional - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

APD lethal force town hall turns emotional

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The shooting of an unarmed man by an Austin Police officer last month has rocked the community.

Some believe Austin Police have used deadly force too many times and officers aren't taking responsibility for it.

Thursday at a town hall meeting sponsored by the East Austin Coalition, Chief Art Acevedo found himself in the hot seat.

Moderator Kenneth Thompson told the packed house at the start of the meeting if you're not respectful, you'll be asked to leave. Things did get pretty intense.

The meeting was called to of course discuss lethal force by Austin P.D. in recent years.

Larry Jackson's family was in attendance and much of the focus was on his particular case in which detective Charles Kleinert chased Jackson, commandeered a civilian vehicle and eventually, according to police, accidentally shot Jackson, killing him.

The plan for the meeting was for Acevedo and a number of other speakers to have the floor first and eventually the townspeople could ask questions but that didn't really go according to plan.

Chief Acevedo had to leave around 7 so he took some questions then. Here's an example of one of the most stirring moments when a man accused Acevedo of countless murders under his watch and demanded his resignation.

"Let me ask you this, man to man. Man to man! I'm not worried about your badge or your pretty little uniform, man to man are you gonna live up to your word if another one of these people think your heart is not in the right place, will you step down and let somebody do a better job than what you're doing? Because you deserve to be fired and if you will not be fired I hope you burn in hell," one man said.

After the crowd calmed down a little bit, Acevedo was able to respond to the demands for his resignation, saying he'll know when it's time to go.

"If a bunch of people start saying I need to leave, I'll leave," Acevedo said.

"Leave! Leave," the crowd chanted.

"...the history of American policing is very ugly. But we have to look at every incident through the prism of the facts and the evidence and each individual case and not through the prism of history, that is my charge. And whether it's me or another chief, they're gonna do the same thing," Acevedo said.

The attorney for the Jackson family, Adam Loewy also spoke. He wanted someone to explain how you accidentally discharge a gun into the back of a man's head.

Loewy called the shooting a quote "criminal act."

As FOX 7 reported last week, in the past 5 years APD has had 29 accidental discharges.

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