An Austin Republican might have saved the careers of 17 Austin police officers with a mere filing of a petition to remove the George Soros-funded Travis County District Attorney José Garza.
The petition to remove Garza was filed Nov. 30 under a new Texas law that permits citizens to petition for the removal of "rogue prosecutors," The Texan reported, potentially leading to Garza to suddenly drop charges against 17 Austin police officers he had sought to prosecute for the use of force during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Garza took $650,000 of Soros funding in his reelection bid, according to the National Police Association.
His work to prosecute Austin police officers began years ago, but after the petition for removal was filed late last month, he has suddenly dropped those charges in a striking reversal, according to the Statesman.
The dropped charges come with a caveat, though. Garza and Austin Democrat Mayor Kirk Watson have called on the Biden administration's Justice Department to take over an investigation into the Austin Police Department's practice and use of force.
That request will be formally made this week, according to the report.
"The responsibility of our office is to seek just outcomes," Garza told the Statesman. "During the two-year investigation into the Austin Police Department and the city of Austin and their conduct during the 2020 protest, it became clear that systemic change is really necessary to make sure this never happens again in our community, and the best way to achieve that outcome, to achieve systemic change, is through an investigation by the Department of Justice."
The department has had a checkered past under Garza's rule, having gone through two police chiefs, banning crowd control gear, and paying a $20 million in civil settlements to injured protesters, according to the Statesman.
"It is clear to me there is still a ways to go," Garza said.
Like Mayor Watson, Garza is a Democrat.
"This has been a difficult chapter for Austin," Watson told the Statesman in a statement. "I look forward to turning the page. These announcements will allow police officers, whose lives were upended by the indictments, to return to their services to our community.
"And the request for a targeted third-party performance review is meant to enhance transparency for our community and inform future actions as we continue our focus on building respect and trust for our police."
Garza's dropping of charges comes one week before the deadline for challengers to run against him in the March primary. There are currently candidates running against his well-funded, backed by Soros cash campaign, according to the Statesman.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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