Photo credit: Ben Carneiro
By Max Sommer
Payroll records show that Austin Police Department paid over $7 million in overtime related to the protests during the May Uprisings last year in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Mike Ramos. Officers were paid time and a half to brutalize protesters and guard property, for a total of 108,051 protest-related overtime hours.
Austin Police Association president Ken Casady describes the overtime worked as “ungodly… it went on for so long” in a hollow attempt to garner sympathy for the time officers spent violently repressing the people.
APD’s use of ‘less lethal’ force sent nineteen people to the hospital in just two days, and injured many more as protests continued. Among those hospitalized due to police brutality were 16-year-old Brad Levi Ayala and 20-year-old Justin Howell, who both suffered brain damage after being shot in the head by rubber bullets, and Tyree Talley, a deaf man shot twelve times by rubber bullets at close range.
Throughout the course of the May Uprisings, APD used a variety of violent tactics in an attempt to repress the people’s anger, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at close range into the crowd as well as at far-off protesters in a manner described by eyewitnesses as “target practice.”
The numbers and militancy of the people taking to the streets against this very kind of brutality caused APD to commit all available resources to their repression. The ruling class for its part is content to pay this nominal amount of money relative to their wealth in order to suppress rebellion and defend their private property.
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