Drop the Charges

District Attorney José Garza and County Attorney Delia Garza

Demand that District Attorney José Garza and County Attorney Delia Garza drop ALL protest-related charges against those who took action for Black lives in 2020!

Petition by
Austin, Texas

To: District Attorney José Garza and County Attorney Delia Garza
From: [Your Name]

We are individuals, organizations, and community members across Austin, Texas united in supporting the movement for Black lives and against state repression of our fellow community members who have been criminalized for taking action in 2020 against an unjust system.

Last year you were both elected on the wave of the movement for Black lives. Austin saw some of the largest protests in the city's history as thousands took the streets to demand an end to racist police violence.

As you both have acknowledged, the response from Austin police was disturbing, dangerous, and in some cases life-threatening. Austin police unleashed the type of brutality that protesters have been calling for an end to. Many were shot with rubber bullets and bean bag rounds, pepper-sprayed, tear gassed, beaten with bikes, striked with batons, and battered with the fists of police, causing serious injuries.

In addition, almost 200 people were arrested in Austin because they decided to take action and speak out against racist police violence. Your predecessors chose to focus on prosecuting these people, and working with a police department that made national news for the brutality it inflicted upon people during the height of the protests in the summer last year.

Former District Attorney Margaret Moore coordinated with the Texas Department of Public Safety, taking cues from Donald Trump and Greg Abbott, to conduct a witch hunt in which they monitored and pursued individuals in unmarked vehicles-- a disproportionate number of them Black youth-- and hit them with trumped-up charges that are intentionally set up to be difficult to negotiate down.

Because of the ongoing economic and health crisis, the courts have yet to revert back to normal, and some charges in Travis County-- mostly misdemeanors so far-- have been dropped. However, too many people face charges who do not deserve further persecution under this system. The harm that has been inflicted upon our community comes from the hands of the police, not from the people protesting it.

We are grateful that County Attorney Delia Garza committed to dropping charges against protesters when asked on the campaign trail last summer. We're asking that you recommit to that statement now that you are in office.

District Attorney José Garza, you have not stated publicly whether or not you would drop charges against protesters. We are asking that you commit to dropping all charges against protesters who took action for Black lives last summer-- as the majority of remaining charges people face are in your purview.

2021 has already begun, and not even a full week has passed before an officer has murdered again. A family is without a son, and a baby without a father. This is heart breaking and unacceptable. The undeniable truth is that we need change, and that means discontinuing the path of persecution.

Many of the people charged are young, Black, working-class, and already face day-to-day persecution. The Austin community has expressed in a variety of ways that they demand a change to this system. In both of your campaigns you stated you would bring change and “reimagine justice.” This is an invitation to concretely commit to that change by dismissing all protest-related charges against individuals who took action for Black lives in 2020.

Thank you,

Drop the Charges Coalition Members: Black Queer Lives Matter ATX, Communities of Color United, Grassroots Leadership, Liberation Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Committee, Red Aid

Access to Activism

Austin Justice Coalition

Austin Lawyers Guild

Austin Liberation

Austin Mutual Aid

Queerbomb Austin

Ride For Reform

Texas Service Industry Coalition

Westlake Student Activism