TFDP is working in coalition with organizations including Austin Justice Coalition, Just Liberty, and Texas Appleseed to advocate for divesting at least $100 million from the Austin Police Department. APD killed Enrique Quiroz while he was handcuffed in March 2020 and killed Michael Ramos while he was fleeing in April 2020. During May protests against police brutality, APD also critically injured a 20-year-old protester and a 16-year-old boy. We are advocating for divestment, policy changes, and accountability.
The threat of COVID-19 is especially grave in local jails, where social distancing guidelines are impossible to follow. TFDP is working in coalition with other groups to encourage local officials, including the sheriff, judges, and prosecutors to minimize the jail population. TFDP is also challenging Governor Abbott's Executive Order GA-13, which is trapping countless people in jails during the pandemic; TFDP has secured the release of 50 people who were being held pursuant to GA-13.
Laws that criminalize people for camping, sitting or lying down unconstitutionally target people experiencing homelessness when other options for shelter are unavailable locally. TFDP is working with a wide coalition of people and organizations, including people experiencing homelessness, to decriminalize homelessness in our local community of Austin, Texas.
In the 2019 legislative session, Texas passed HB 1325, which legalizes hemp and necessitates testing of THC levels for any possession of marijuana conviction. Because only one lab in the state is qualified to test THC levels in this way, possession of marijuana is effectively unenforceable. TFPD is working with allies in Travis County to advocate for dismissals of all pending possession of marijuana charges and for stopping the Austin Police Department from arresting people on these offesnses and from developing testing protocols.