Retired Austin PD Chief Slams City Council for Defunding Police Following Mass Shooting

'The time has past that the mayor and council can get by with saying Austin is safe and have the community believe them. Those are lies.'

Image Credits: KVUE.

Austin City Council members are cowardly ignoring how their “defund the police” efforts have made the city less safe following a mass shooting over the weekend, a former city police chief has stated.

In a Facebook post calling out the city council’s lack of leadership in the wake of a victim’s death, retired Austin chief of police Stan Knee underscored how reducing police resources has negatively impacted the city.

“I hope everyone has noted our local leadership response…unlike other cities experiencing such [violence], not a single city councilmember, nor the mayor stood alongside our Chief of Police as he described the chaotic scene, and the actions of our professional police officers as they literally saved lives,” Knee wrote.

Austin Police Chief Stan Knee (Photo By John Anderson, Austin Chronicle)

The retired chief added that many of the city councilmembers failed to express praise, or gratitude towards the officers who immediately responded and aided victims at the scene.

“They and the mayor hide behind their zoom meetings, or issue statements refusing to stand in front of cameras and answer questions about how their arbitrary downsizing and defunding the police have changed the very image of what Austin used to be.”

Knee also took issue with statements from Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who in the wake of the violence proceeded to claim Austin is a “safe city.”

“The mayor has released two statements,” Knee pointed out. “The second one contains a phrase repeated two times ‘Austin is a safe city.’ It is NOT a safe city and your actions and those of the other councilmembers have made it a dangerous place to live, vacation, and send your children to college.”

“The time has past that the mayor and council can get by with saying Austin is safe and have the community believe them. Those are lies.”

The former police chief called on Austin voters to “remember this lack of leadership” come election time.

Knee served as Austin’s police chief from 1997 to 2006.

The Austin Police Association highlighted Knee’s post on Tuesday, praising his tenure and criticizing anti-police efforts, saying, “Defunding of the police, cutting staffing, delaying new cadet classes for over a year has been a disaster.”

“Austin will continue to have an understaffed Police Department for several years due to the rash decisions by City Leadership for the last budget.”

“The impacts are real and unfortunately the victims and their families are suffering because of poor leadership at City Hall.”

On Friday, 14 people were shot while visiting Austin’s historic 6th Street, which is lined with bars and cordoned off by police on weekends.

One man died from his injuries on Sunday.

At least one of two suspects has been arrested, according to police.

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