APD, social activists hold press conference following David Joseph’s death

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APD Chief Art Acevedo speaks at a press conference held on Thursday, Feb. 11. Acevedo addressed the fatal shooting of David Joseph that occurred on Monday, Feb. 8.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Angel Polansky

Local activists joined with Austin police Chief Art Acevedo Thursday afternoon to reflect on the relationship between the city and its law enforcement agencies in the midst of nationwide discussions about police brutality. 

Following the shooting of 17-year-old David Joseph Monday, the press conference allowed Acevedo to address concerns about officer Geoffrey Freeman, who shot Joseph, and update the community on the status of the ongoing investigation. 

“Regardless of where we end in this investigation, our duty as a police department is to do everything we can to avoid taking a life,” Acevedo said during the press conference.

Acevedo said the investigation of Joseph and Freeman’s confrontation is complex, but is expected to be completed within the next 30 days. 

“We’re going to leave no stone unturned to be able to provide a complete picture in accounting for everything that led up to that tragedy,” Acevedo said during the conference.

Activists from Black Lives Matter, Austin Justice Coalition and Measure Austin spoke about their desire to collectively change societal interactions within the city and keep officials accountable for their actions. 

Community members and representatives from these activist organizations participated in a peaceful protest at City Hall throughout the day. 

Chas Moore with the Austin Justice Coalition said he believes the problem with modern society and the continuation of racism is laziness. He said addressing these issues and pursuing active communication together will bring change to the city.

In response to a question at the end of the conference, Acevedo said patrol officers are equipped with a Taser, impact weapon and pepper spray while on duty. Acevedo confirmed Joseph charged at Freeman during the incident, but said the reason Freeman did not use a Taser as his weapon in this situation is part of the investigation.