Austin Police Association files petition asking court to intervene on police oversight lawsuit

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Association (APA) filed a petition with the district court to intervene on the lawsuit advocacy group Equity Action brought forth against the City, according to the APA.

That lawsuit calls for the City to implement measures put forth in the Austin Police Oversight Act, which the public voted in favor of last May. Officials are still seeking clarity on how much of that ordinance can be implemented without violating state law.

RELATED: AG’s office reverses ruling that would have given more power to Austin Police Oversight Act

The primary element of contention is the police department’s “G file,” an internal, confidential file that contains complaints against officers that have not been substantiated and did not result in any form of punishment.

The Austin Police Oversight Act orders this information to be public.

“This lawsuit intends to force the City to violate state law and harm the hardworking people of the Austin Police Department,” said APA President Michael Bullock in a statement. “It also substantially interferes with our ability to fully negotiate a contract as we have in years past.”

KXAN has reached out to Equity Action about this move and will update this story when we receive a response.

History of the Austin Police Oversight Act

The root of this back and forth goes to the battle at the ballot box between two petitions titled “Austin Police Oversight Act.”

One was spearheaded by the advocacy group Equity Action. The other was written by Voters for Oversight and Police Accountability, which is backed by the Austin Police Association (APA). While both petitions contain many of the same points regarding the role of the Office of Police Oversight (OPO), Equity Action’s version has more provisions that give OPO more power. Equity Action’s version passed in the May election.

Full breakdown of the differences between the different ordinances

The Austin Police Association said the “unfettered” access the new ordinance now allows is in violation of state law.

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