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Friday, June 18, 2010

Debbie Russell's "Open letter to City Manager Ott & Austin City Council"

Austin officially supports the death penalty?

That's the message to the community right now.

Our chief traveled out of town yesterday, in his formal City of Austin Police Chief uniform, and spoke to media at the Powell execution relaying sympathy for the mother of Ablenedo - but offering no sympathy to the family/friends of Powell, much less the mothers/family of those 'executed' by his officers here in our City. It seems officer's lives are worth more than civilians. He did this on a chartered party bus while other APA officials and police officers partied here in Austin at Scholtz' Garden as the execution was happening. :(

He can say all he wants it's "not about revenge," but those words ring hollow when his actions speak WAY louder.

He can personally be an advocate for the unjust death penalty, and with it, an advocate for revenge-based, not reform-based criminal justice, but should he be doing it as a representative of the City? And doesn't that personal belief extend to how he shapes policies and practices (like rushed/botched investigations we almost always see in capital murder cases)? I challenge any City leader that questions this to publicly raise the issue. I challenge our City Manager to appropriately discipline him for this careless act done in our name.

There's been a lot to be disappointed about in our City lately, but I've never been more ashamed or less hopeful for reform.

In sadness,
Debbie Russell

scene in Huntsville:

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