Over the weekend, 51 people were arrested in the Austin area by federal immigration officers, which has led to rumors surrounding Austin Police Department’s involvement with these arrests, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
These rumors were addressed at a press conference Monday by interim Police Chief Brian Manley, who said he is investigating whether anyone in his department coordinated with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
“ICE agents, federal agents, were here conducting an operation,” Manley said. “They have full jurisdiction … and they got themselves in a circumstance to where they needed help, and we will always help a fellow officer. We were not a part of this operation.”
The operations started last Thursday, according to the Statesman, and it is unclear what the agency’s timeline is.
Manley said he reached out to ICE Monday for information on their operations and how long they would continue to operate in Austin.
“As the Austin police chief, I want to know what’s going on in my community,” Manley said to the Statesman. “This is having a profound impact, and I want to understand current and future operations.”
Manley also said in the press conference that there was one incident in which APD responded to an ICE agent for assistance to arrest a suspect. Manley said APD arrived after the arrest and were not involved in detaining the suspect.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler also spoke at the press conference to clarify APD’s role in working with ICE. He said he was aware of two incidents where APD responded to an ICE officer’s call for help.
“I do not believe there is any coordination going on between ICE and our police department,” Adler said to the Statesman.
In an open letter on Tuesday, Adler said Austin is still a welcoming city but more needs to be done to “reaffirm our values.”
“These raids are sowing distrust, not just with ICE but even with local law enforcment, and that makes our community less safe,” Adler said.