- "'Reckless Tactics' ... and the Blowback," Austin Chronicle
- "Sanders shooting report made public," Austin Statesman
- "Full report of controversial police shooting is made public," KVUE
- "Full, unredacted report on Sanders case released," News 8 Austin
Austin Assistant City Manager Michael McDonald says the city's initial reluctance to release the full report was due to the wording in its 2004 contract with the Austin Police Association.
"It is pretty restrictive," said McDonald."
But at the instruction of the city manger, McDonald says he called the president of the Austin Police Association and they decided the language in the contract did allow for the release of information in certain independent investigations. As for why they didn't come to this agreement when the report was first released....
"In hindsight we would have liked for that to have occurred," said McDonald.
It's angering to me that, in so many ways, that one rotten contract in 2004 continues to haunt the City, both from an accountability perspective and because Austin's absurdly high police salaries have driven public safety costs through the roof. In the '90s I was part of a campaign called the Sunshine Project for Police Accountability that worked to establish Austin's Police Monitor office. But after losing the fight over that 2004 union contract, I took a hiatus from City politics surrounding the police department, disgusted by the players at city hall and angered that a five-year contract contained so many provisions that bloated the budget and reduced accountability and transparency. Since then I've let others slug it out case by case without me, believing that as long as the contract is in place, pushing for more accountable police in Austin is a fool's errand, literally requiring (as we see here) permission from the police union to do anything the public might recognize as oversight. Kudos to those like Jim Harrington and Debbie Russell who've carried on, but they're playing out the hand with a stacked deck. Clearly the same problems exist today that inspired creation of the Police Monitor's office in the first place - the process is just typically too opaque for the public to notice.