Since June, a working group has been meeting quietly to discuss what kind of public oversight is needed for the Austin Police Department. The group is working to rebuild from the wreckage of the Citizen Review Panel, suspended after 17 years when the City Council in December rejected the police labor agreement that has always included the terms of the panel’s authority.
The Llano City Council this week is expected to decide the fate of Police Chief Kevin Ratliff, who was convicted July 20 of three Class A misdemeanors for his part in a questionable intoxication arrest. Ratliff’s convictions on official oppression and record-tampering continue the saga of an improper arrest in May 2017 that has left the tiny police department in disarray. The chief and three of his officers who took part in the arrest have been suspended with pay since January. Those three officers are awaiting trial on other charges, and a fourth officer was fired in June.
When it comes to making government records public, Houston City Hall largely goes by the honor system. That leads to problems for the public, and there have been more than a few.
Also this week:
Have a tip? Contact editor Trent Seibert at [email protected]monitor.org or 832-258-6119.