Skip to comments.Hundreds push for answers in shooting death
Posted on 06/17/2005 6:24:09 AM PDT by ken21
Hundreds push for answers in shooting death; Knee hears calls to quit Police chief, city leaders meet with East Austin residents.
Bobby Taylor, the Rocha family's lawyer, asked the crowd to be patient and let the Police Department finish their presentation at the meeting.
* Photo gallery: Police shooting victim memorial, 06.11.05 * Police fatally shoot man in drug sting, 06.10.05 * Austin Police Department release on officer-involved shooting (PDF) * Get Acrobat Reader
* Special report: Unequal force
In a typical weekend scene, this one in the early morning of Oct. 4, Austin mounted officers keep an eye on Sixth Street revelers. Sixth and Trinity streets, where police have a weekend command post, is the site generating the most use of force reports. http://www.statesman.com/specialreports/content/specialreports/useofforce/index.html
By Tony Plohetski
Friday, June 17, 2005
Austin Assistant Police Chief Rudy Landeros could barely complete an opening statement about what happened the night an officer shot and killed an 18-year-old.
"Murderer!" one person shouted from the audience.
"Justice!" screamed another.
"You executed him!" yelled a third.
During a lengthy town hall meeting Thursday night to discuss the June 9 shooting of Daniel Rocha, many in the East Austin community where he lived demanded answers from city and police leaders and called for the resignation of police Chief Stan Knee.
Hundreds of people spent hours listening to questions, which included why Officer Julie Schroeder shot Rocha in the back, why video cameras failed to capture the shooting and whether Schroeder would be allowed to return to work.
The crowd, gathered in a gymnasium at the Dove Springs Recreation Center, was made up of teenagers who knew Rocha, concerned neighborhood residents and the slain teenager's family.
The questions in the tension-filled session ranged from angry shouts to calm, reasoned queries.
The mother of Sophia King, a mentally ill woman who was shot and killed by police in 2002, also was in the audience, as was Barbara Shorts, whose son, Jesse Lee Owens, was shot and killed by an officer in 2003.
About 45 minutes into the meeting, Shorts delivered an impassioned speech in which she expressed support for Daniel Rocha's mother, Daniela Rocha, and discussed the sadness that she said she lives with daily.
Sitting in the front row only a few feet from Knee, she said, "I have to question your ability to lead, Chief Knee." Her statement was met by a round of applause from the audience.
"I've tried very hard for two years to be patient," Shorts said. "I question whether you can honestly regain the trust of the community. If you cannot lead the police department, I'm begging you, begging you, to put someone in there who can."
Later, King's mother, Brenda Elendu, said, "How could you justify taking someone's loved one? We're a part of society just like West Lake Hills, Bee Cave and 360. Why can't our kids get the same treatment, instead of being gunned down like dogs."
Knee and other city leaders, including City Manager Toby Futrell and City Council members Raul Alvarez and Danny Thomas sat grim-faced through much of the meeting. Knee and Landeros fielded question after question from the crowd as Futrell sat silently by.
Knee defended the work of Schroeder, saying that she has had no sustained allegations of misconduct during her career. He said that the investigation about whether her fatal shot was a mistake will be reviewed by the department, a Travis County grand jury and federal investigators.
Rafael Wells, 19, a friend of Rocha's, stepped to a podium where participants were asking questions. "Y'all got pepper spray. Y'all got mace. Why didn't y'all use one of those?"
Landeros answered by saying that Schroeder feared for her safety.
Several participants said after they left the meeting that they felt little to no closure.
Krystal Gomez, 23, said, "I came here with a lot of questions and concerns, and I got the answers I assumed I would get basically vague."
What's the story behind the shooting?
And I hope it's a bit more coherent than this barely disguised hissy-fit.
We're a part of society just like West Lake Hills, Bee Cave and 360. Why can't our kids get the same treatment, instead of being gunned down like dogs."
That's an easy one. Because the kids from the aforementioned areas don't fight police officers.
I think I know the answer, but I prefer to hear the other side first, before commenting. Actually, I would like to hear both sides first. This article had lots of heat, but zero light.
there's a austin police pdf file available on the website.
it's NOT helpful.
the austin police have not represented themselves well.
1. lulac set up and controlled the meeting between the police and community. what's that tell you?
2. the austin police have not represented themselves well. they were silent too long.
one reason they gave was that no video of the altercation exists. community people give different statements if they know no video exists, so the austin police did not admit that there was no video, so as not to color the community statements.
Here's a little more info.
You physically and violently resist arrest and you deserve whatever you get. And you don't get to choose the weapon of choice to subdue you.
End of story, as far as I'm concerned.
Yep, even if it's me or my son.
it's a radical, feminist paper.
Of course the police are supposed to know everyone who is mentally ill. And the mentally ill can't possibly be dangerous. She had a knife, wouldn't drop it, and was about to attack her apartment supervisor.
Jesse Lee Owens, was shot and killed by an officer in 2003
Driving a stolen car, shot by the officer he had trapped in the car door (as he was driving away - officer half in, half out of car.)
Too bad the Austin American Statesman isn't the Austin Sun Statesman or some other. That way the acronym would be ASS, which is where most of their reporters pull their stories from.
also, the austin paper editorialized that ann coulter's speech at the lbj center was:
I wish I had remembered that this was going on last night. I wanted to show up to support APD. I actually have no trust whatsoever for the upper levels of APD, and regard Cheif Stan Knee as a political hack, but the officers on the street are generally a pretty good bunch.
And, universally, if you have a fruitcake relative, make sure he/she has a keeper when going out.
i agree with you.
stan knee doesn't seem to represent himself and his officers well.
the investigation of the kurt jacobson motorcycle accident and police party was embarrassing. it clearly was a cover up.
while we're at it, the city manager, toby futrell's offer of a "forgiveable loan" caused a community uproar. then she rescinded the offer, creating an even greater community uproar. why is the city paying her to create social disharmony? and right in the middle is the newspaper feeding the fire.
no sense of humor.
this newspaper actually incites social unrest.
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