More than 100 cops have been assaulted in Austin, Texas, this year, nearly one every three days. It happens so often, that officers have been assaulted more than 100 times in the first 287 days of this year. Those assaults often result in injury to the officers and even their horses.
Austin police have been under immense scrutiny for their actions over the past few years as people with cell phones often follow officers around or simply capture a physical encounter between police and a suspect on video. Reports about assaults on officers, however, result in much less media attention, a KXAN report reveals.
“It’s one of those things you have to deal with,” Austin Police Association President Kenneth Casaday told KXAN. “Officers get assaulted [downtown] on a routine basis. The mounted horses get stabbed and punched on a fairly frequent basis. It’s just something you’re always aware of.”
Sixth Street, home to many restaurants and nightclubs, also hosts many of these assaults. Officers often deal with heavily intoxicated suspects. In June, Breitbart Texas reported one such incident where police received criticism for arrest tactics. The incident was captured on a cell phone and went viral.
That doesn’t appear to happen in cases where officers, or their mounted patrol horses, are assaulted.
In one situation, a man refused to leave a bathroom at a pub on Sixth Street. Court records obtained by KXAN revealed that both a bartender and an Austin police officer asked the man to leave. A struggle ensued and the officer attempted to use his Taser. After attempting to take the Taser away from the officer and possibly use it against him, the man reached up and grabbed the officer’s throat.
A woman reportedly kicked an officer in the groin and punched him while he was attempting to handcuff her. Records also show, another man on Sixth Street punched a police horse.
“We have our own issues that we’re dealing with. The department can always do better, but just the lack of respect for authority in this country has really been degraded over the last several years,” Casaday told KXAN.
He said the trend is not moving in the right direction as assaults continue to increase against law enforcement. He explained that as Austin grows in population, more and more people actually reside in the downtown area. He said the homeless, drug users, and dealers also present problems for police as well.
“And then you throw on top of that the alcohol issues with Sixth Street and the surrounding area. It’s just a big problem to deal with,” Casaday concluded.
Nearly one year ago chaos broke out in downtown Austin when a man opened fire on the Austin police headquarters, located near the Sixth Street district. Breitbart Texas reported the attack by a middle-aged white man on the downtown area. More than 100 rounds were fired by the suspect, David Lepine, who was later shot and killed by police.
Nationally, assaults against police are up and 100 police officers have been killed in the line of duty. Thirty-five of those deaths came from shootings or other violent assaults on officers, according to statistics from the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.