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Watch: Austin PD chief ‘extremely disappointed’ after 19 officers indicted

In a press conference, Chief Joseph Chacon rebuked a grand jury decision to charge 19 officers over conduct related to civil unrest in 2020

Austin Police Department chief indictment officers

Austin Police Department

By Suzie Ziegler

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon spoke in defense of 19 officers who were charged with excessive force on Thursday.

The officers were indicted by a grand jury on charges related to civil unrest in May 2020, the Austin American-Stateman reported.

After the grand jury’s announcement, Chacon held a press conference to express his misgivings about the decision.

“I am disappointed to hear the D.A.’s press conference statements regarding anticipated indictments related to the 2020 protests,” Chacon began. “As a department, we asked officers to work under the most chaotic of circumstances in May 2020 and to make split-second decisions to protect all participants.”

Chacon went on to describe the struggles officers faced while managing the crowds.

“There were significant portions of times that the crowds were riotous and violent,” he said. “I am not aware of any conduct that, given the circumstances, these officers were working under would rise to the level of a criminal violation by these officers.”

Chacon ended by saying that the officers deserve the same protections of any defendant, “including the presumption of innocence and the right to a speedy trial.”