Bring attention to community concerns about the Austin Police Department’s inability to hold their own cops accountable, a federal jury has decided an Austin Police Department officer used excessive force during a 2015 jaywalking arrest.
Almost 2 years after Jeremy King told reporters, “I want the officers to be held accountable. I want there to be change within their department,” the jury made its decision.
“I felt proud to be able to stand against what I felt was truly wrong,” he told KXAN.
“I really feel like what happened was unnecessary. There was excessive force. I did feel like I was selectively enforced,” because of his race, King said.
The federal jury found the APD officer used excessive force, but did not selectively enforce.
King’s attorney, Brian McGiverin, pointed out that the internal affairs division of the APD failed to do its job, and cleared the abusive cop of any wrongdoing.
“If there had not been a lawsuit, if there had not been litigation, this would have been just another example of a thing being swept under the rug,” McGiverin said. “I think it’s critical that we have genuinely independent oversight because as we’ve seen, when internal affairs is responsible for investigating these cases, sometimes really important situations fall through the cracks.”
King hope this jury verdict will lead to positive changes within the APD, “It just makes me aware and I feel like they should be aware, that maybe there are some things that need to change.”
King told KXAN that for him, the case provided closure.
“I hope that anything that anyone goes through, they feel like they can, you know, go against a force that is maybe seeming insurmountable or too powerful to take on,” King said. “Just to know that you have something within you to really go against that, I think that’s what I want people to remember and take away.”
And, there’s one more message he wanted to share: “As we’re celebrating this Martin Luther King weekend with your family or friends, just remember the love that we should share, the forgiveness and the equality that I feel like everyone deserves on this planet.”