Austin gets one of 'those kind' of DA

 Bryan Preston:

As 2021 opened, the Austin Police Department faced two crises. The extreme cuts to the police budget that Mayor Steve Adler and the city council, all Democrats, unanimously approved in August go into effect. Those cuts eliminate positions across the department and also eliminate upcoming cadet classes.

APD was also set to lose another 22 or so officers. It was shorthanded at the beginning of 2020, before the city council defunded it. Attrition through retirements and resignations left it even more shorthanded at the end of 2020.

A week ago, Travis County’s new district attorney, Jose Garza, added to the department’s woes. A grand jury under Garza’s direction indicted two officers, Gregory Gentry and Chance Bretches, for an incident that occurred in March 2019 — nearly two years ago.

The officers’ actions were reviewed at the time and found to have been objectively reasonable. APD’s chain of command, including Chief Brian Manley, signed off on the review. The district attorney at the time, Margaret Moore, was briefed on the incident and did not indict. The suspect in that case pled guilty and is serving prison time. The case was closed.

But Garza ran for the office on a platform not of fighting Austin’s rising crime but of fighting the police department. Garza benefited from contributions from left-wing billionaire George Soros or organizations he backs.

Philanthropist George Soros contributed $652,000 to the Texas Justice & Public Safety PAC between March 11 and May 29. According to Garza’s opponent, District Attorney Margaret Moore, the PAC spent more than $600,000 on digital media and glossy mail advertisements to help Garza. Moore’s campaign released a blistering attack on those expenditures saying, “The amount of money being poured into the district attorney’s race is alarming and abhorrent. Local elections should be decided by people from this community, free from the crushing influence of outside spending by PACs that are not accountable to this county.”

Garza says this number is incorrect and that his campaign staff have verified that the PAC actually spent $409,000 to help his campaign.

Soros-backed district attorneys have established two patterns: decriminalize low-level but real criminal behavior, and prosecute police officers. In Los Angeles, this is leading to chaos in the criminal justice system.

Officers Gentry and Bretches will be taken out of their police duties on paid leave while the court action against them proceeds, however long that takes. That’s two more officers APD will not have on duty. It’s possible they never return to duty in Austin.

The Austin Police Association came out swinging against Garza in a statement posted on Facebook. APA’s statement lays out the facts of the incident and puts DA Garza on notice.


It is my impression that being a Soros backed DA should be disqualifying for the job.  In my early days as a lawyer, I worked with DA's around the state of Texas in prosecuting white-collar criminal cases and had great success.  Those DA's were focused on protecting their community and not protecting criminals.  Many of the Soros backed DA's have a record of not prosecuting people charged with criminal activity.  This was especially the case during the BLM riots.


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