Mayor: Austin has no plans to impose curfew

In an interview with KXAN, Mayor Steve Adler explained the decision, while acknowledging the "legacy of racism and systemic inadequacies" that have led us to this moment

AUSTIN — While cities across the nation have begun enforcing curfews as they attempt to get a handle on increasingly violent demonstrations, Austin, Texas, has no plans to join them — for now.

“Austin hasn’t done a curfew to this point, principally, because the police chief hasn’t indicated it’s a tool that he wants to use,” Mayor Steve Adler told KXAN.

The mayor also said that business owners in the community have not requested a curfew, despite local vandalism and looting.

Mayor Steve Adler joined Chas Moore of the Austin Justice Coalition on Facebook Live to discuss the protests happening in Austin.
Mayor Steve Adler joined Chas Moore of the Austin Justice Coalition on Facebook Live to discuss the protests happening in Austin.

“My understanding is that, by nature, a curfew sets a certain time when people need to be home, rather than being out, and as you look around at other cities that are doing it, I think that the cities that have chosen to do it have done it because they are feeling such unrest or criminal element in their cities in the evening that they feel like they don’t have the resources to be able to otherwise stop or control,” Adler said.

When asked if he worried that a curfew could exacerbate the already high tensions between the community and law enforcement, a concern likewise raised by criminologists, Adler acknowledged it as a factor in his decision making thus far.

“Yes, I think there was always a concern, with respect to a curfew, that you would create more challenges than you would solve,” he said.

Adler was quick to point out, however, that he wasn’t criticizing any other city’s decision to impose such restrictions, explaining that he’s been in contact with local leaders across the country to figure out the right option for Austin.

“Every city is different,” he said, “and the situations that every city finds themselves in is different. And those situations can change over time.”

Adler also acknowledged that even though George Floyd’s death didn’t occur in Austin, “the elements and issues that give rise to that are in every American city right now.”

“Just look in our city,” he continued, “with Larry Jackson and David Joseph, and then recently with Mike Ramos. The questions of policing culture — and in our history a legacy of racism and systemic inadequacies — is something that’s part of what we’re dealing with now. We didn’t create those problems, but we are dealing with those legacies and it’s our responsibility to fix them.”

To get this process started, Adler invited Chas Moore, founder of the Austin Justice Coalition, to speak with him live about the nation's long road ahead:

Let's talk.

As a community, we need to have a conversation about the protests that happened over the weekend. Tonight, Chas Moore, founder of Austin Justice Coalition will join me to talk about race and justice in Austin. Please join us.

Posted by Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Monday, 1 June 2020

Next: Dozens of cities across the country are imposing curfews, but do they work?

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